LEGAL NEWS 26.05.2012

Supreme Court stays cancellation of Jal Mahal land lease case
TNN | May 26, 2012, 02.37AM IST
JAIPUR: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Rajasthan High Court judgment that cancelled the lease of 100-acre land near Jaipur’s Man Sagar Lake to a private company to develop tourist facilities.

A division bench of Justice Deepak Verma and Justice S J Mukhopadhaya, however, restrained the private company from undertaking any fresh construction at the site. The bench said that the undertaking given by the company to the Rajasthan High Court that it would not undertake fresh constructions in the complex would continue. The company, the Jal Mahal Resorts Pvt Ltd, though was allowed to continue the preservation and restoration work of the monument, Jal Mahal, inside the lake.

The apex court also issued notices to have replies from the state government and Prof KP Sharma, one of the petitioners on whose pleas the high court cancelled the lease on May 17.

The apex court’s stay order came as a relief to the state government as well, since the high court had made stern remarks against it while cancelling the lease and license agreements. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra had remarked that the state government committed “breach of public trust” and “abused the powers” in signing the lease on ‘unreasonable’ terms.

The state government leased out the prime land near the lake and the 17th century monument in it to the private company for 99 years. It was objected that the land estimated to be around Rs 3500 crore was handed over to the company in return for just Rs 2.5 crore annual lease money and the monument was given away for an annual license fee of merely Re 1.

Early this week, deputy leader of opposition Ghanshyam Tiwari said that the BJP wanted the lease agreement to be cancelled and the land’s possession be retaken by the government, as directed by the high court in its May 17 judgment. Tiwari even talked about leading the people to forcibly take possession of the land and the monument if the government failed to do by May 31.

Seniors’ criticism of lower court judges denting judiciary: SC
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | May 26, 2012, 02.54AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has admitted that a growing tendency in superior courts to berate lower court judges for apparent mistakes in orders and judgments was denting the judiciary’s credibility.

The apex court said its judgments advising superior court judges to exercise restraint and use temperate and sober language while dealing with appeals against orders passed by lower court judges had fallen on deaf ears. “Such unwarranted observations, instead of enhancing the respect for the judiciary, create concavity in the hierarchical system and bring the judiciary downhill…. Further, the trend seems to be persistent like an incurable cancerous cell which explodes out at the slightest imbalance,” said a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra.

A superior court judge was expected to maintain “sobriety, calmness, dispassionate reasoning and poised restraint” even when he felt strongly about the lack of merit and faults in an order passed by a lower court judge, the bench said.

The bench removed the Allahabad high court single judge’s caustic observations against Bulandshahar chief judicial magistrate Amar Pal Singh. Expressing deep anguish at the intemperate language used by the HC judge against the CJM, the bench clarified that it was not commenting on the merits of the order which was challenged before the HC.

Justice Misra, writing the judgment for the bench, quoted orders of the apex court spanning four decades on this issue and said superior court judges must understand the difference between sending a message and issuing a rebuke.

“A judge is required to maintain decorum and sanctity which are inherent in judicial discipline and restraint. A judge functioning at any level has dignity in the eyes of public and credibility of the entire system is dependent on use of dignified language and sustained restraint, moderation and sobriety,” the bench said.

The SC said judiciary’s independence was inseparable from its credibility. “Unwarranted comments on the judicial officer creates a dent in the credibility and consequently leads to some kind of erosion and affects the conception of rule of law,” it added. “The sanctity of decision making process should not be confused with sitting on a pulpit and delivering sermons which defy decorum because it is obligatory on the part of superior courts to take recourse to correctional measures,” the bench said. Allowing the CJM’s appeal, the apex court said, “Perceptions of fact and application of law may be erroneous but that never warrants such kind of observations and directions.”

Kazmi has a right to get copies of remand papers: Court
PTI | 08:05 PM,May 25,2012
New Delhi, May 25 (PTI) A Delhi court today said it was the fundamental right of journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi, arrested for alleged role in the bomb attack on Israeli diplomat’s car, to be supplied with the copies of the remand papers which are not secret documents. Additional Sessions Judge S S Rathi allowed Kazmi’s plea saying there is “no legal prohibition on supply of documents to the accused in judicial custody subject to the safeguards provided by the relevant statutes.” Terming as “illegal” and “fractious”, the ASJ set aside the part of the May 1 order of the magisterial court where it was held that Kazmi cannot be supplied the copies of the remand papers at this stage and that the same may be supplied after the filing of the charge sheet. The ASJ said it is his (Kazmi’s) fundamental right to be informed about the grounds and documents based on which his detention is being extended from time to time. “Delhi High Court rules and orders clearly empower the accused to seek certified copies of any record at any stage,” the judge said. The ASJ said even constitutionally, by combined virtue of Article 14 (equality before law), 19 (Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc), 21(right to life) and 22 (protection against arrest and detention), an accused held in custody by the state does have a right to be treated and dealt with by the state in a transparent manner. Kazmi had moved the court of ASJ seeking copies of the remand papers on basis of which his judicial custody was being extended since March 24. The ASJ noted that the six remand papers sought by Kazmi did not contain the name and addresses of any witness and other information mentioned in them had already been published in several national dailies. The ASJ also observed that neither the state nor the court of CMM on its own motion ever ordered for holding any proceedings in the case incamera. The ASJ also rejected the objection of the investigating agency that Kazmi himself is a press reporter and the media was taking keen interest to cover every aspect of the case and if the remand papers are supplied to him, they would become public.

Aarushi-Hemraj murder case: Time for witnesses to take centre stage
Neeraj Chauhan, TNN | May 26, 2012, 03.10AM IST
NEW DELHI: With the stage set for the trial of doctors Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the four-year-old Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case, CBI will have to begin producing evidence and witnesses in the court from June 4 to prove its charges of murder and destruction of evidence against the Talwar couple.

The investigation agency’s case is built primarily upon 141 documents, which include statements of some neighbours and friends of the Talwars, their maid and their driver, the case’s first investigating officer from Noida police, doctors and forensic experts.

CBI had recently told the court that it had ‘relied upon’ 96 of these 141 documents in the case diary. However, the agency admits to not having material evidence against the couple.
Of the witnesses, CBI feels, some have been crucial in reconstructing the chain of events from the murders on the night of May 15 to the discovery of the corpses on the morning of May 16, 2008.

Among the important witnesses is Punish Rai Tandon, a neighbour of the Talwars in Jalvayu Vihar whose servant Vijay Mandal was arrested by the first CBI probe team. In his statement, sources say, Tandon had told investigators that “his servant Vijay Mandal was in his garage (that day)”.

To prove the CBI’s theory of only four persons being present in the house on May 15, 2008, the Talwars’ driver Umesh, their maid Bharti, another neighbour Anita Durrani, and KN Johri, the landlord of another suspect, Krishna, are important %witnesses.

Umesh had said in his statement, “I had seen Rajesh Talwar, Nupur Talwar, Aarushi and Hemraj in the house around 9.30pm on May 15, when I went there to return their car keys”.

Bharti claimed, “When I went to the house at 6am on May 16, only Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were there. Aarushi’s body lay on her bed and there was blood from a wound on her neck while Hemraj was not there”. The statements of Jalvayu Vihar’s security guards – Virender Singh, Sanjay Singh, Ram Kumar, Chandra Bhushan, Devender Singh and Ram Vishal – support CBI’s theory that ‘no outsider’ visited or left the Talwars’ house that night.

Anita Durrani had stated that her servant Rajkumar was present in her house till 12.30am on the night of murder, while KN Johri, stated that Krishna was sleeping in his house with his family members.

CBI says the testimony of an official of the telecom department, Deepak Kanda, is also important as he had stated that “Internet was switched on and off at regular intervals and that an outsider could not have done that…It (router) was first switched on at 12.08am, while it was switched off finally at 3.43am and it could have only gone off in case of an electricity cut,” Kanda stated.

Another witness from the electricity department, Rajesh Kumar, said there was no power cut from 7pm on May 15 to 7am on May 16.

Dr Rajeev Kumar and Dr Rajeev Kochar, friends of the Talwars, had stated that “they had seen washed dragging marks on the stairs next day”. In his statement, Kochar has also reportedly told the sleuths that the Talwars were wearing fresh looking clothes.

The agency is also banking on the postmortem report. Dr Sunil Dohre had stated that “a surgically trained person could have caused the injuries on the neck”, adding that “V-shaped injury could have been of a golf stick”.

To back the destruction of evidence claim, Dohre’s statement also adds that “there were no marks on Aarushi’s face or body or of any resistance, but private part was wide and there was white discharge near it, however it should be in whole area (sic)”.

CBI will call all these witnesses by turns to the court to examine them June 4 onwards.

Stall trial until CBI probe ends: Jagati Publications’ plea to high court
TNN | May 26, 2012, 02.25AM IST
HYDERABAD: Jagati Publications, the company belonging to Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy, on Friday urged high court to restrain the trial court from going ahead with an ‘incomplete’ chargesheet and sought stalling of proceedings till the CBI probe into the FIR lodged in the Jaganmohan assets case was over.

The appeal was filed before justice B Chandra Kumar who is hearing the pleas of both Jagati Publications asking for the trial to be stopped and the CBI’s plea against cancellation of the bail given to auditor Vijay Sai Reddy. Senior advocates C Padmanabha Reddy and Susheel Kumar argued the cases for both Jagati and the auditor and told the court that the CBI could only undertake further investigation if it came across any new evidence and not on strength of merely the FIR.

Just because Vijay Sai would be entitled to bail upon completion of the 90-day time limit, the CBI has filed an incomplete chargesheet, the counsels said.

The CBI has with it the preliminary enquiry report, the high court judgment ordering a CBI probe into Jagan’s assets, the FIR naming 73 individuals and companies as accused and the report of the amicus curiae who cited benefits given to five companies on a quid pro quo basis.

But the CBI so far has named only one of the five companies whose details were given by the amicus curiae, the senior counsel said. Proceeding on an incomplete chargesheet would result in injustice to their clients, the counsels said. The judge posted the case to Monday when he would hear CBI’s version of the case.

Sunil Reddy bail plea dismissed: In a separate development, principal special judge A Pullaiah of the CBI court on Friday dismissed the bail plea of N Sunil Reddy, an accused in the Emaar scam case. The judge noted that since the case is dependent on the statement provided by T Ranga Rao of Stylish Homes against the accused, Sunil, if released, may threaten Ranga Rao against deposing before court.

Allahabad High Court quashes Surajpur land acquisition
TNN | May 26, 2012, 05.43AM IST
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court on Friday quashed the notifications issued by the state government for acquisition of about three hectares of land in Surajpur village in Dadri tehsil, Gautambuddh Nagar for construction of aqua children’s park. The Allahabad High Court order was passed by a division bench of Justice Sunil Ambwani and Justice A N Mittal, allowing the writ petitions of Surajpur farmers.Quashing the notifications dated August 27, 2004 and July 19, 2005, the court ordered to return the land of the petitioners. The court was of the view that application of urgency clause invoked by the government for acquiring the land was without any real or actual urgency.

Green Tribunal agrees to hear plea against Lavasa’s hill city
The National Green Tribunal has agreed to hear a plea challenging the November 9, 2012 environment clearance (EC) granted to Lavasa Corporation Ltd for its $ 31 billion hillside township project in Pune district of Maharashtra.
The Tribunal directed Lavasa, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to file their replies to the petition of a project-hit Pune native before July 24.
Lavasa had opposed the petition at the outset on ground that the plea was time barred as it was filed with a delay of 59 days after the grant of environment clearance.
The company had also said that petitioner Dyaneshwar Vishnu Shedge had not come to the Tribunal with “clean hands” and having sold his land for the project, he is “stopped from raising an objection to the EC granted”.
Mr. Shedge, had contended that he was not aware of the MoEF’s order granting EC and after coming to know about it the villagers of Mugaon, of Mulshi Taluka of Pune assembled and took a decision regarding “the further course of action for setting aside the order granting EC”.
The Tribunal said that the appeal has been filed within 90 days, thus was in consonance with the provision of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act.
As per the NGT Act a plea can be filed within 30 days of passing of an order sought to be challenged and the Tribunal can entertain the petition filed within 60 days after the first 30 days if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal.
“On consideration of submissions advanced interse by the parties we feel in a case like the present one where environmental impact of project on local population in terms of their environmental harm has to be assessed, the approach of this Tribunal, especially set up for the said purpose, should be liberal and not “hyper-technical”, a bench headed by the Tribunal’s Acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu said.
The bench condoning the delay said “in view of the discussions made above, the delay being less than 90 days, this Tribunal after appreciating pleadings and documents referred is satisfied that there was sufficient reason and that deliberate latches (not acting in reasonable amount of time) cannot be attributed to appellant”.
It also said that Lavasa’s allegations against petitioner and questions relating to locus-standi of Mr. Shedge “involve intricate questions of facts and law which can be dealt with only in course of hearing of the appeal”.
Mr. Shedge had submitted that several “substantial questions” relating to environment are involved and “if the project comes up, the right of the appellant as well as other poor villagers living in the vicinity shall be affected under Article 21 of the Constitution (relating to Fundamental Right to life), in as much as they will be deprived of clean environment and a healthy life”.
The petitioner has alleged that the action of MoEF in granting EC to the project was “arbitrary”.
“There are also several other allegations with regard to the faulty procedure adopted as well as de-relegation of statutory provisions by the MoEF which according to the appellant goes to the root of the decision making process, consequently the EC granted suffers from the vice of non consideration of relevant facts and law and cannot be sustained”, the tribunal noted from the Mr. Shedge’s submissions.
The Tribunal is also hearing a separate petition filed by Lavasa challenging the environment ministry’s decision to impose conditions with the EC, which is likely to be heard on July 19.
Lavasa had also questioned the applicability of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2006, requiring environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), for the project.
The MoEF had on November 9, 2011 granted environment clearance to the first phase of Lavasa’s project subject to “strict compliance” of certain terms and conditions.
The decision came after the Maharashtra government had filed a case in a Pune court against the promoters of Lavasa for allegedly violating the Environment Protection Act.
Filing of the case under the EPA was one of the pre-conditions imposed by the MoEF for granting the clearance.
The ministry had laid down five pre-conditions, as suggested by the Expert Appraisal Committee, for Lavasa to comply with before grant of environment clearance.
The conditions included demarcation of land usage such as open spaces, diverting five per cent of its expenses for corporate social responsibility, creation of an environment restoration fund, which in turn will be monitored by verification and monitoring committee and a submission by the company that violations would not be repeated.
Besides, the ministry has set out for Lavasa a list of 47 conditions, including having a separate budget for community development activities and income generating programmes and vocational training for individuals to take up self-employment and jobs.
The project developers were also asked to make a clear demarcation of ‘no development and construction zones’.

HC hears today plea for inter physics re-exam
Express News Service
HYDERABAD: Justice B Chandra Kumar of the High Court on Thursday asked Intermediate Board authorities to respond to issues raised in three writ petitions filed by students seeking a direction for conduct of Intermediate advanced supplementary examination in physics again for those who had missed it out on May 16 because of non-issuance of hall-tickets.
The petitions will be heard on Friday.
The Intermediate advanced supplementary examinations began on May 16 and hundreds of students could not write the physics examination on the first day due to non-issuance of hall-tickets by the board. Following the High Court orders, the board decided to issue hall-tickets immediately but they were not issued in time for the first examination. As a result, several students could not write the examination on the first day. The students contended that they had lost the opportunity to appear for the physics examination on May 16 though they had paid the fee in time to the colleges and that it was no fault of theirs and demanded that the physics examination be held again for their benefit. They pointed out that physics paper was crucial as about 31 percent students had failed in that subject. Nearly three lakh senior Intermediate students applied for the physics examination to improve their score.

House tax: High court vacates stay, decks cleared for 2% hike
TNN | May 26, 2012, 05.56AM IST
ALLAHABAD: Disposing of a writ petition challenging increase in house tax in Allahabad city, the Allahabad High Court on Friday vacated its stay order granted earlier and held that the minimum monthly rate of rent notified by the municipal commissioner, Nagar Nigam Allahabad, on June 18, 2010 (effective April 1, 2011) is valid.
By this order, it was resolved to increase the house tax by 2 per cent.
However, the division bench of Justice Sunil Ambwani and Justice Pankaj Naqvi directed that all those owners of properties in the municipal limits of Allahabad, who are liable to pay the property tax, shall be entitled to file objections to the individual assessments of their properties by the Nagar Nigam.
The objections regarding carpet area or covered area of a building, calculations, area of land or other rebates should be given in writing to the municipal commissioner within one month from the date of publication of fresh public notice by the municipal commissioner.
The objection will be confined to the individual assessment regarding calculation of the area.
The Court directed that municipal commissioner or officers authorised by him will dispose of the objections after giving objectors an opportunity of being heard with reasons ordered.
The petitioner, corporator Shiv Sewak Singh, Congress MLA Anugrah Narayan Singh and corporator Kamlesh Singh had questioned the authority, manner and process of increase in the property tax levied on the properties situated within the municipal limits of Allahabad by municipal commissioner, Nagar Nigam Allahabad, for the year 2011-2012.
They had challenged the enhancements of the rates of rent and assessments of house tax by municipal commissioner, Allahabad from April 1, 2011.

HC reserves orders on Bidari Case
Express News Service
BANGALORE: A Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court, comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice H S Kempanna, on Friday reserved for Monday its judgment on the review petition filed by DGP Shankar M Bidari, seeking his appointment as DG & IGP be upheld.
Meanwhile, Bidari’s counsel S N Chandrashekar filed a memo seeking permission to withdraw the Interlocutory Application (IA) for change of the Bench. The Bench, then, dismissed the memo and a contempt petition filed by IG & DGP A R Infant against Bidari for “seeking change of Bench” and commenting on judiciary.
Advocate General S Vijay Shankar, who was making his submission on behalf of the state government, said in the National Human Rights Commission report there was no allegation against Bidari of committing atrocities as chief of the STF during operations to nab Veerappan, and hence the state did not feel it relevant to place the report before the UPSC before Bidari’s appointment as IG & DG.
Chandrashekar stated that “During the NHRC prove, victims’ statements were recorded on paper, and not tape-recorded or videographed. Many people gave false statements before the NHRC for higher compensation. When Infant made allegations against Bidari, he should have attached the documents, if any, but he did not do so,” he said.
Counsel for Infant Uday Holla said for empanelment for top post one should have a good length of service, clean service record and range of vital and crucial experience. The DG & IGP had to control and command 90,000 police personnel of the state, but Bidari said he did not commit any atrocities but the officers under him committed them, he added.

NHRC camp in Assam and Meghalaya from May 28
PTI | 12:05 PM,May 26,2012
Guwahati, May 25 (PTI) A delegation of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), led by its chairman Justice (Retd) K G Balakrishnan would hold a three-day camp sitting in Assam and Meghalaya from May 28 to reach out to far-flung areas. The camp sittings aims to dispose of pending cases by hearing senior government officers, sensitise them about importance of human rights issues and compliance of NHRC recommendations, meet local NGOs and brief media for wider dissemination of information on human rights issues, an official release said here today. The first sitting will be held here for two days from May 28 and on May 30 at Shillong. Altogether 50 cases concerning of Assam will be considered for disposal and out of these 17 cases will be heard at the full Commission sitting chaired by Justice Balakrishnan. The rest of the cases would be taken up by two separate division benches. The cases for Assam include rehabilitation of children rendered orphan or destitute in communal riots in upper Assam districts, starvation deaths in Cachar district, alleged eviction of about 6000 adivasis by forest officials from Lungsun forest area. The other cases include denial of basic facilities to the residents of 22 villages in Kamrup district, witch hunting, sexual exploitation of women, deprivation of source of livelihood to 300 families facing eviction, illegal coal mining in Tinsukia district and deaths in encounter and custody.

SC stays removal of Odisha consumer forum chief
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN May 25, 2012, 04.04PM IST
NEW DELHIl The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a Odisha government notification removing A K Samantray, a former judge of Orissa high court, from the post of president, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
Arguing for Samantray, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the state consumer forum president could be removed only after the state sent a reference and consequent inquiry by the chief justice of the high court into allegations of corruption or misconduct.
“This procedure was given a complete go-by,” he said.
A bench of Justices Deepak Verma and S J Mukhopadhaya stayed the Naveen Patnaik government’s May 9 notification removing Samantray from the post and sought the state’s response.
Samantray, through counsel Ashok Panigrahi, pleaded that the “manner in which the petitioner had been removed from the post of president of the state commission by the government without any inquiry was illegal, arbitrary and in flagrant violation of the principles of natural justice”.
The removal resulted from the adverse remarks passed by the HC while hearing a PIL alleging irregular functioning of district consumer forums and the state consumer commission.
The petitioner said, “The state government failed to understand that the high court had never directed his removal from the post of president of the state commission.”
The state government, to save its skin from possible contempt proceedings, had issued the May 9 notification without even bothering to conduct any inquiry or referring the matter to the HC for an inquiry into the alleged irregularities, he alleged.

High court slaps Rs 5 crore penalty on mining firms for damaging fort
Ajay Parmar, TNN | May 26, 2012, 02.54AM IST
JODHPUR: In yet another curb on the indiscriminate mining in state, the Rajasthan high court on Friday imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on the Birla White and other miners and ordered mining activities to be suspended with immediate effect in 10-km periphery of the 7th century Chittorgarh Fort.
The order comes a month after a whopping penalty of Rs 50 crore was imposed on the Sangemarmar Khan Vikas Samiti of Makrana for causing irreparable damage to the railway track due to mining activities.
The division bench of Chief Justice A K Mishra and Sangeet Lodha pronounced the verdict while disposing off a PIL filed by one Bhanwar Singh. The petitioner alleged that the blasting of mine barely 1.5 km away from the Chittorgarh Fort was causing irreparable damage to the historic monuments of Vijay Stambh, Kirti Stambh and Kumbha Mahal. He alleged the companies are carrying out these activities without permission, and several cracks have appeared on the structures due to these.
The court overruled the report of the Indian Bureau of Mining, which had stated that the mining operations were as the standards of the IBM and were not causing damage to the fort by any means. Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP spokesperson and the counsel of Birla White had appeared in the court during the final hearing of the petition on May 15. The court had then reserved its verdict.
On Friday, the bench while giving its verdict said 90% of the penalty would be borne by the Birla White, while the remaining had to be paid by other mining companies.

Disproportionate assets case: CBI to grill Jagan Mohan Reddy again today
New Delhi: YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy will be quizzed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) again on Saturday. On Friday, he was grilled by CBI sleuths for over seven hours in connection with the disproportionate assets case.
Jagan remained unperturbed by the grilling. The CBI is questioning Jagan on the Vadarevu and Nizampatnam Ports and Industrial Corridor (VANPIC) deal in the presence of industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and senior bureaucrat KV Brahamandna Reddy who are already under arrest.
Prasad is the promoter in the VANPIC deal and allegedly invested Rs 850 crore in the business of Jagan for land allotment made to the VANPIC project by the then YSR regime on quid-pro-quo basis. The CBI had on Thursday arrested Andhra Pradesh Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkataramana in connection with the VANPIC project.
Prohibitory orders have been issued in Hyderabad as police fear that Jagan’s supporters could go on the rampage if he is arrested. His anticipatory bail petition was rejected on Thursday by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, hours after the CBI arrested Venkataramana.
Security has been strengthened security in and around the Dilkhusa Guest House where a large number of police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel have been deployed. The Raj Bhavan route, which leads to the guest house was barricaded and a lot of traffic restrictions were imposed there.
The High Court as well as the CBI had turned down his pleas seeking exemption from appearing before the agency till June 15 due to his engagement with the by-polls campaign.
The prohibitory orders under Indian Penal Code Section 144 banning assembly of five or more persons came into force at 6 am on Thursday. Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma said the orders would be in force till May 29, a day after he is scheduled to appear in the CBI court. A large number of police personnel have been deployed all over Hyderabad to prevent any untoward incident.
There will be no permission for meetings, rallies and processions during the period. Police have launched checking of vehicles and frisking of people, especially at the entry points into the city.
The police commissioner said they had reliable information that “in view of forthcoming by-elections certain political parties are likely to organise large number of supporters in Hyderabad city limits, taking advantage of some local events to derive political advantage.” In the emotionally charged atmosphere, large-scale mobilisation of people is likely to adversely affect maintenance of law and order, the police chief said.
Jagan has alleged that the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party along with the CBI are conspiring to arrest him and then create a law and order problem to postpone the June 12 by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 18 Assembly constituencies. In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jagan alleged that a conspiracy had been conceived to trigger riots after his arrest and put the blame on him.

DNA investigations: BEML society tricked BDA, and sold sites
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2012, 9:39 IST
By Y Maheswara Reddy | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA
Looks like some administrators belonging to the BEML Employees’ Cooperative Society Ltd (BECSL) believe in the mantra of “rules are meant to be broken”.
Sample this: Even though an agreement between the BDA and the BECSL prohibited the society from selling 84 sites in its Thubarahalli Layout, the society went on to sell many of them; in fact, seven were sold to a single person in one day.
The sale of restricted sites took place even though the BECSL had intimated the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to withhold their release till a case relating to three parks was settled in the court.
In this regard, the then executive director of the BECSL, M Huche Gowda, had sent a letter to the BDA’s engineer member on July 20, 2005. The letter stated that the BDA can withhold the release of 84 sites until the case relating to the civic amenity (CA) sites was settled in the court. A list of sites accompanied the letter.
But even though the BECSL did not get the court’s clearance regarding the CA sites, it started selling sites in January 2008. DNA has a copy of the sale deeds of these sites.
Seven of these restricted sites (site numbers 429C, 429D, 429E, 429F, 429N, 429O, 429P) were sold to one Narsappa Reddy on August 5, 2009. The then executive director Domlur Sreenivas Reddy and president HM Kumar of the BECSL represent the housing society in the sale deed.
KS Periyaswamy, a former employee and shareholder of BEML, said the sale hints at collusion among board of directors of the housing society, officials of the BDA, the BBMP and sub-registrars. He said all authorities involved in the sale of the sites ought to be prosecuted for breach of trust. He said the government should punish them under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.

ATS file 13/7 charge sheet against 10 IM members
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Almost a year after three bomb blasts shook the city killing 27 people and injuring many others, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Friday filed a 4,788-page charge sheet before the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court against 10 members of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), including its top operative Riyaz Bhatkal who is believed to be hiding in Pakistan.
Of the 10 members of the terror group, six are absconding while four have been arrested. The four — Naquee Ahmed, Nadeem Shaikh, Kanwar Pathrija and Haroon Naik — are facing trial under the stringent MCOCA, the Indian Penal Code and other laws.
A series of three coordinated bombs exploded at Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar and Dadar (West) in the peak evening hours between 6.52pm and 7.05pm on July 13, 2011. The charge sheet has been filed under MCOCA, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Indian Penal Code, Explosives Act, Explosives Substance Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act and Passport Act against 10 persons of which four are arrested.
According to the charge sheet, Naquee and Nadeem were involved in the criminal conspiracy. The provided logistic support, SIM cards, housing, and transporting the explosives in addition to stealing scooters.
The charge sheet also reflects names of six absconding accused, including IM founder Mohammad Ahmed Sidappa alias Yasin Bhatkal and his brother Riyaz Bhatkal. Two Pakistani nationals, Wakash Shaikh alias Waka and Danish alias Adil alias Tabrez who were alleged to have planted the explosives, are also shown as wanted accused in the case. Two others are Muzaffar Kola Shaikh, proprietor of Dubai-based Kola Enterprise who used to send money through hawala and Mohammad Tahsin Akhtar alias Tahsin.
The ATS has recorded statements of 641 witnesses of which 19 witnesses have identified the arrested accused. The ATS has attached 308 hours of CDs compiled from various CCTV cameras at the three locations.
The recruitment for carrying out the blasts started in December 2010. From February 2011, people who were to execute the blasts started entering Mumbai. The confessional statement given by Nadeem Shaikh also forms a part of the charge sheet although he later retracted the statement.Initially, three different cases were lodged at local police stations under the UAPA. Later, the three blasts cases were clubbed and handed over to the ATS.
The ATS later invoked the MCOCA as the Bhatkal brothers’ were involved in Pune’s German bakery blast and Ahmedabad’s Shahi Baug blast. Yasin Bhatkal, Wakash and Tarbez had rented a flat in Byculla where they allegedly assembled explosives before triggering the blasts.

2G scam: Essar, Loop Telecom executives charged with criminal conspiracy
NEW DELHI: A CBI special court on Friday charged five top executives of Loop Telecom and the Essar Group, including its vice-chairman Ravi Ruia and his nephew Anshuman Ruia, with criminal conspiracy to cheat the telecom department, as part of the 2G spectrum scam, but granted bail to all of them.

In addition to the Ruias, Essar’s director for strategy & planning, Vikash Saraf, and Loop promoters IP Khaitan and Kiran Khaitan were charged under Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code. If convicted, the five officials could face up to seven years in prison.

Kiran Khaitan is the sister of Essar Group founders Shashi and Ravi Ruia, and is based in Dubai along with her husband IP Khaitan.

The court also charged three companies – Loop Telecom, Loop Mobile India and Essar Tele Holding – under the same sections. It also slapped an additional charge of cheating on Saraf for making false representations to the government.

The special court, set up to conduct a speedy trial in the 2G scam, is trying 17 other accused, including former telecom minister A Raja, government officials and top corporate executives from three mobile phone companies. These people have been charged with criminal breach of trust, conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption. The cases pertain to the allocation of telecom permits on a first-come-first-served basis by Raja in 2008.

But the Ruias are the most prominent businessmen to go on trial in the 2G scam. Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra, DB Realty MD Shahid Balwa and executives from Reliance Communications spent several months in jail before being released on bail late last year. Raja was granted bail earlier this month after being in jail for nearly 15 months.

The special court said it would try the five executives for conspiring against and cheating the telecom department to get pan-India permits for Loop Telecom in 2008. It said the accused violated Clause 8 of the licence agreement that operators sign with the government, which bars them from owning more than 10 per cent in another telecom company.

HC grants bail to one accused
PTI | 04:05 PM,May 25,2012
Kochi, May 25 (PTI) Kerala High Court today granted bail to a CPI(M) activist, an accused in the Abdul Shukoor murder case, while it rejected the bail plea of another Marxist. While granting bail to Ajit Kumar, Justice M K Balakrishnan turned down the plea of 13th accused Rajeevan. Kumar was ordered to furnish a bond of Rs one lakh plus two solvent sureties for the like amount. The judge said Kumar had completed 90 days in custody, the maximum detention limit without filing of chargesheet. The state government had opposed the pleas of the two, saying if they were released on bail, it would affect investigation in the case. Shukoor, a worker of the Muslim Students Front (MSF) was stabbed to death allegedly by CPI(M) workers on Feb 20 last at Keezhara Ariyil in Thaliparambu in Kannur district. The incident was said to be sequel to a clash between IUML and CPI(M).

Gujarat HC irked at Shingalas U-turn
Published: Friday, May 25, 2012, 20:32 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
The Gujarat high court issued a show-cause notice to Vishal Shingala of Jamnagar, who on Thursday had sought permission to withdraw the petition against IPS officer Subhash Trivedi. Shingala had earlier filed a petition before the Gujarat high court against Jamnagar DSP Trivedi and other cops for torturing him in police custody after he was arrested in a case under Prohibition Act in 2008.
Justice AS Dave was irked with Shingala as he decided to withdraw the petition when the matter was in the final stage. It also directed filing of an FIR against the IPS officer. The court asked Shingala to file a reply before May 29 as to why any criminal action shall not be initiated against him.
Last Tuesday, the court asked Shingala to lodge a complaint before the Jamnagar police against Subhash Trivedi under section 330 of the IPC for voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession. The state government had also initiated departmental action against Trivedi.
However, Shingala’s sudden change of mind has not gone down well with the court and he has been asked to furnish a reply as to why he wanted to withdraw the plea at final stage.
According to the petition filed by Shingala, an FIR was lodged against him in case of prohibition and he was arrested. He was then subjected to custodial torture by DSP Trivedi and the police inspector. He filed a complaint before the local court which entrusted inquiry of the matter to the police, but it did not yield any result.

Shukkoor murder case: HC denies bail to accused
TNN | May 26, 2012, 04.51AM IST
KOCHI: The Kerala high court on Friday denied bail to P Rajeevan, the 13th accused in the murder of Muslim League activist Abdul Shukkoor.

Justice N K Balakrishnan denied bail to Rajeevan after the prosecution pointed out that he had been identified by a witness as part of the mob that kidnapped Shukkoor before murdering him.

The 10th accused in the case, Kerala Fire and Rescue Services employee P K Ajith Kumar, was granted bail by the court as he had served 90 days in jail, which is the maximum number of days a person can be detained without filing a chargesheet.

Bail applications by six more accused in the murder, which was termed by the media as ‘party killing’, are pending before the high court.

Meanwhile, amidst the demand by the Indian Union Muslim League to hand over the probe to the CBI, three more people were arrested on Friday night. They are being questioned.

Decide engg results of 3 plaintiffs: HC to Mumbai University
Published: Saturday, May 26, 2012, 8:13 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
While issuing a stiff warning to the Mumbai University, the vacation bench of justices SJ Kathawalla and PD Kode of the Bombay high court has directed the varsity’s Unfair Means Committee (UMC) to decide within one week the results of three engineering students, whose case it had termed under the ‘reserved copy case’ category.
After the university tendered an unconditional apology for delaying appointing the UMC, the high court suggested that it should not waste any more time in declaring the results of the three petitioner students.
What surprised the court was the university being unaware of the fact that the police would make available seized documents only after a charge sheet is filed in the case.
Expressing its surprise, the court said: “The university is a very old institution and it should have known of the available legal recourse, that photocopies of the seized answersheets can be taken. Then, it could have declared the results instead of shooing away the petitioner students.”
The vacation bench was hearing the plea of three engineering students, whose results were withheld after the answer sheets of their first semester exam (May 2011) were found on a peon from the campus in June 2011. Their results were “reserved as copy case’’ by the university.
The students argued that there was no malpractice during the examination and they were not being allowed to appear for further examinations. The HC bench was told by the university that they were subsequently allowed to appear for their second semester.
Recommending strict action against students indulging in unfair practices during exams, the bench said they had the right to be heard by the inquiry panel, which was denied till now.

IPL molestation: Delhi HC hears victim’s plea
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday heard US citizen Zohal Hamid’s plea to withdraw molestation charge against RCB Player Luke Pomersbach. Zohal was at the Delhi High Court along with her fiance Sahil Peerzada and Australian cricketer Luke Pomersbach for quashing of the criminal case, lodged against the cricketer for molesting her and hitting her fiance.
Zohal’s lawyers had told CNN-IBN that and she will not be filing a defamation case against RCB owner Siddharth Mallya too.
The three made the plea jointly, terming as “unfortunate” the incident leading to registration of the FIR and saying that they have amicably settled their disputes and “wish to end it”.
Australian cricketer Pomersbach, playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL tournaments, was arrested on May 18 after Hamid alleged that he had molested her in a five-star hotel here an and beat up her her fiance.
Claiming that they have reached a settlement amicably without any pressure or financial consideration, the petition said, “The petitioners have reached settlement as per settlement deed dated 23 May 2012, whereby inter se disputes between the parties have been amicably settled without any pressure, coercion or undue influence.”
The trio said on the advise of their friends and relatives, they mutually decided to end all their disputes.
Hamid and Sahil have agreed not to pursue the criminal case and has decided to withdraw the FIR saying they are fully satisfied and believe in the genuineness and sincerity of regret expressed by Pomersbach.

16 police recruits move HC after being delisted
TNN | May 26, 2012, 03.41AM IST
NASHIK: As many as 16 candidates selected as trainee constables have moved the Bombay high court against the state government delisting their names from the list of the selected candidates even after utilizing their services in the recent civic polls. As a result, the entire recruitment process has been stayed until the court comes out with its final verdict on the litigation filed by the delisted candidates.

In December 2011, the city police commissionerate had taken up the recruitment process for 265 candidates. The Nashik police commissionerate had received 10,099 applications for the post of constables. Only 8,158 candidates including 1,103 females had actually appeared for the recruitment process. After the documents were scrutinized, 3,162 candidates were declared ineligible on grounds of shortcomings in their documents.

Subsequently, a physical test was held for 4,996 candidates out of which 3,728 candidates qualified for the written test. The final result of 265 selected candidates was declared on December 13, 2011. Immediately after the list of the selected candidates was declared, the Supreme Court had given a new directive of parallel reservation. The state home department was asked to prepare a new list of candidates, eligible as per parallel reservation. The Nashik police commissionerate then came out with a new list of selected candidates as per the parallel reservation, which saw 36 selected candidates in the first list of December 13, being sacked.

Of the 36 candidates, 16 candidatesapproached the Bombay high court against the decision. The services of these candidates were utilized during the Nashik Municipal Corporation elections that was held in February. The candidates who have approached the Mumbai high court are of the view that ever since the first list of the selected candidates was announced, they were absorbed as constables and also worked during the civic elections. But removing their names from the second list suddenly imples playing with their future. There are reports that the rural police, which also conducted the recruitment process, has delisted 26 candidates from the second list.

HC directs MU to release results of engineering students
PTI | 07:05 PM,May 25,2012
Mumbai, May 25 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today directed the University of Mumbai to decide within a week the results of three engineering students which were on hold after their answer sheets were lost in an alleged theft case in June 2011. A vacation bench of justices S J Kathawala and P D Kode also directed the university to ensure that such incidents are not repeated and it should not waste more time in deciding the results of the three students. The bench was hearing a petition filed by the three students, whose results were withheld by university for May 2011 examination for Electronics & Computer Programming as “Reserved Copy Case”. Amruta Patil and Virendra Neve, advocates for the petitioners, have sought quashing of a verbal order of the university not allowing the students to appear for the examination this year. At the last hearing, the court had rapped the university for its “insensitive” approach towards the students’ future. The university today tendered unconditional apology to the court for the delay in appointing the Unfair Means Committee to look into the matter and assured the court that such incidents would not be repeated. The students had appeared for their first semester examinations in May 2011 but their results were “reserved as copy case” as a peon was arrested with answer sheets on the varsity’s premises in June 2011. The students argued that there was no malpractice during the examination and they were being punished for no fault of theirs, and they were not being allowed to appear for further examinations. The judges were today informed that the students were subsequently allowed to appear for their second semester.

HC awards Rs 60 lakh compensation to deceased sailor’s kin
PTI | 09:05 PM,May 25,2012
Chennai,May 25 (PTI) The Madras High Court has awarded a compensation of Rs 60 lakh to the family of an Indian sailor, who died in March this year after falling into a cargo hold of a Panamanian ship,docked at Chennai port since November 2011. T S Madison(33) of Kanyakumari district, third officer of the 7000 DWT vessel Gati Pride, while checking cargo on board the vessel, fell into an empty cargo hold and died. The ship, lying at the outer anchorage, had been “arrested” on the direction of the Court in November last year and ordered not to sail till all wages due to its crew were settled. The owners of the vessel had cleared all dues in early March and when preparations were being made for the ship to sail the mishap took place on March 24. The officer’s widow Bino Sesley and two minor children had moved the court seeking a compensation of Rs one crore. A single Judge had directed the owners to deposit Rs one crore. The owners, however, preferred an appeal. A settlement for Rs 60 lakh was reached between the owners and petitioners. Recording the settlement, a Division Bench, comprising Justices P Jyothimani and R Karuppiah,stipulated that the victim’s wife and two children would each receive Rs 20 lakh and the amount should be deposited in a nationalised bank. The matter was reverted back to the single judge who referred it to a Lok Adalat for a formal settlement, to enable the deceased officer’s family to get a refund of the court fee. The court has permitted the vessel to sail.

HC summons UT home secy over illegal occupation
Express news service : Chandigarh, Sat May 26 2012, 02:20 hrs
Taking cognisance of non-assistance by the UT Administration in a case pertaining to alleged illegal occupation of flats by Kashmiri migrants, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has summoned the UT Home Secretary and asked him to remain present in Court on May 28. The UT Administration has also been asked to clarify its stand on the issue. The Administration has been asked to explain as to what action it has taken against those Kashmiri migrants who are occupying flats illegally in Sector 29.
Earlier this month, the UT had issued notices to Kashmiri migrants for eviction. The notices were issued after assistant labour commissioner, Jammu and Kashmir, Chandigarh, had intimated the UT estate office that the migrants were occupying the houses illegally.
On the basis of the communication, the SDM (East), exercising powers under the Public Premises Act, 1971, had issued eviction notices to residents of about 60 dwelling units. The occupants were asked to appear before the estate officer.
Responding to the notices, the Residents Welfare Association had urged UT officials to take a sympathetic view. They had said they would be left on the roads, if evicted, as they had little money to pay rent. The migrants had argued that they had been occupying the houses for many years and had all the necessary documents.

HC slams ‘mechanical’ way to decide bails, paroles for convicts
Express news service : Ahmedabad, Sat May 26 2012, 04:31 hrs
The Gujarat High Court has slammed the “mechanical approach” of the state government officials in dealing with applications for bail or parole from convicts lodged inside jails.
The court’s observation came during the hearing of a petition by a murder convict who was denied parole due to “mechanical” negative remarks by the concerned superintendent of police despite the fact that in past, the convict was released from jail on bail-parole-furlough on 28 occasions and each time he reported back to jail in time.
The petitioner, Bhupat Khachar, is lodged in a jail in Amreli district and his application seeking a 30-day parole for construction of his house was rejected by the district magistrate after the concerned SP gave a negative opinion that it could cause breach of peace.
Khachar moved HC, which allowed his application after examining jail records that showed he had been in jail for around 12 years and was released on temporary bail, parole and furlough on 28 occasions but always reported back to jail in time.
The single-judge bench of Justice R R Tripathi granted the 30-day parole sought by the convict. The court also ordered the home secretary report to apprise it of the steps that are going to be taken to remove such difficulties by July 15.

Bombay HC disapproves of pilots strike
PTI | May 25, 2012, 04.43PM IST
MUMBAI: Deprecating the inconvenience being caused to people due to their agitation, the Bombay High Court today asked the Indian Pilots Guild to first comply with the Delhi High Court order restraining them from continuing their “illegal strike” before sorting out the issues with the management.
“You (IPG) may have problems but first comply with the Delhi High Court order. Then you can go sort out your issues. You cannot harass the general public like this,” a vacation bench of justices S J Kathawala and P D Kode observed while hearing an IPG petition challenging its derecognition.
IPG, the association representing pilots from the erstwhile Air India, have moved the Bombay High Court against an order passed by the Air India (AI) management derecognising the body and sealing its premises.
“The defendant no 1 (IPG), its members, agents and its office bearers are restrained from illegal strike. The pilots are also restrained from reporting sick, holding dharnas, staging demonstrations or resorting to any other modes of strike in and outside the company’s offices in Delhi and other regional offices,” Justice Reva Khetrapal of Delhi HC had said in her May 9 order.
The pilots, under the banner of IPG, are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression.
The Bombay High Court bench has directed AI to file its response to the petition through an affidavit within a week and directed the management to permit the petitioner to remove documents from its sealed office.
According to IPG, the order dated May 7, 2012 derecognising their association was a “high-handed and draconian” measure undertaken by AI management.

HC reserves order in defamation case against Army chief
New Delhi, May 25, 2012
A Delhi court on Friday reserved its order for May 28 to decide whether the judicial inquiry conducted by it into the allegations levelled by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh in a criminal defamation case filed by him against Army chief Gen VK Singh be continued or not.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja had been holding an inquiry under section 202 of the CrPC for determining the existence of a criminal conspiracy and complicity among the five persons, including the Army Chief, in issuing the press release on March 5 in which Tejinder Singh was accused of offering a bribe of Rs. 14 crore to Gen VK Singh.
“Today in pursuance of the inquiry, complainant has tendered in evidence a letter of May 4, 2012 and a certificate under the Evidence Act regarding the CD (showing interview of the Army Chief to a TV channel). Put up for orders on May 28,” the court said.
Section 202 of the CrPC empowers the court to hold inquiry for the purpose of deciding whether or not there is sufficient ground for proceeding in a complaint.
The court had earlier said that before passing any order on summoning the respondents, it has to be inquired whether the Army Chief and four others named in the complaint, had any role in the publication of the press release.
It had said that on the basis of evidence available, it cannot draw any positive or negative inference and it would be appropriate for the court to postpone the issuance of process and hold an inquiry as per the provisions of the CrPC.
The judge recorded the testimony of Tejinder Singh in relation to a document, government communication given in the Delhi high court, which he submitted as an evidence and said that there exists sufficient material for the court to proceed against the respondents.
During the hearing, Tejinder Singh’s lawyer Anil Aggarwal said government had communicated to the Delhi high court that the March 5 press release was issued as per the media policy of the Army Headquarters after obtaining approval at the “highest level in the Army”.
He said that being the Army chief, Gen VK Singh is the highest authority in the hierarchy.
He also submitted to the court a CD of an interview of the Army chief by a media house in which Gen VK Singh had levelled bribe allegations against Tejinder Singh.
After the counsel placed the CD before the court, the magistrate posed several queries to him about it.
“How do I know from this (CD) that other accused were also involved in this? What is the purpose of this video?,” the court said.
To this, the counsel said that the March 5 press release contains allegations including the bribery one against him and this was also levelled by the Gen VK Singh in his interview.
“This is not the stage of trial where I have to prove everything. At this stage, I have to show only the prima facie offence,” he said.
Regarding the highest authority in the Army, the counsel said, “Like Mount Everest cannot be excluded from the list of the highest mountains of the world, Gen VK Singh cannot be excluded from the list of the highest level in the Army.”
During the hearing, Tejinder Singh also argued before the court and said all the five persons, named as accused in his complaint, are implicated by the government communication to the high court as the government has said that the press release was issued by the Army Headquarters after obtaining approval at the highest level in the Army.

High court slaps Rs 5 crore penalty on mining firms for damaging fort
Ajay Parmar, TNN | May 26, 2012, 02.54AM IST
JODHPUR: In yet another curb on the indiscriminate mining in state, the Rajasthan high court on Friday imposed a penalty of Rs 5 crore on the Birla White and other miners and ordered mining activities to be suspended with immediate effect in 10-km periphery of the 7th century Chittorgarh Fort.
The order comes a month after a whopping penalty of Rs 50 crore was imposed on the Sangemarmar Khan Vikas Samiti of Makrana for causing irreparable damage to the railway track due to mining activities.
The division bench of Chief Justice A K Mishra and Sangeet Lodha pronounced the verdict while disposing off a PIL filed by one Bhanwar Singh. The petitioner alleged that the blasting of mine barely 1.5 km away from the Chittorgarh Fort was causing irreparable damage to the historic monuments of Vijay Stambh, Kirti Stambh and Kumbha Mahal. He alleged the companies are carrying out these activities without permission, and several cracks have appeared on the structures due to these.
The court overruled the report of the Indian Bureau of Mining, which had stated that the mining operations were as the standards of the IBM and were not causing damage to the fort by any means. Ravi Shankar Prasad, BJP spokesperson and the counsel of Birla White had appeared in the court during the final hearing of the petition on May 15. The court had then reserved its verdict.
On Friday, the bench while giving its verdict said 90% of the penalty would be borne by the Birla White, while the remaining had to be paid by other mining companies.

Bombay High Court disapproves of pilots strike
Deprecating the inconvenience being caused to people due to their agitation, the Bombay High Court on Friday asked the Indian Pilots Guild to first comply with the Delhi High Court order restraining them from continuing their “illegal strike” before sorting out the issues with the management.
“You (IPG) may have problems but first comply with the Delhi High Court order. Then you can go sort out your issues. You cannot harass the general public like this,” a vacation bench of justices S.J. Kathawala and P.D. Kode observed while hearing an IPG petition challenging its derecognition.
IPG, the association representing pilots from the erstwhile Air India, have moved the Bombay High Court against an order passed by the Air India (AI) management derecognising the body and sealing its premises.
“The defendant no. 1 (IPG), its members, agents and its office bearers are restrained from illegal strike. The pilots are also restrained from reporting sick, holding dharnas, staging demonstrations or resorting to any other modes of strike in and outside the company’s offices in Delhi and other regional offices,” Justice Reva Khetrapal of Delhi HC had said in her May 9 order.
The pilots, under the banner of IPG, are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression.
The Bombay High Court bench has directed AI to file its response to the petition through an affidavit within a week and directed the management to permit the petitioner to remove documents from its sealed office.
According to IPG, the order dated May 7, 2012 derecognising their association was a “high-handed and draconian” measure undertaken by AI management.

High court quashes Luke FIR
Abhinav Garg, TNN | May 26, 2012, 02.42AM IST
NEW DELHI: “They are foreigners, let them leave India with happy feeling,” the Delhi high court said on Friday as it quashed the FIR in the IPL molestation row in the face of strong objections from police.

Accepting the joint submissions of Zohal Hamid, Saahil Peerzada and cricketer Luke Pomersbach, Justice M L Mehta ended criminal proceedings against Pomersbach that began when Zohal lodged an FIR alleging he had molested her and hit her fiance in an IPL post-match party in Delhi.

The relief came in the teeth of protests by Delhi Police that favoured Pomersbach facing trial. The police standing counsel, Pawan Sharma, and additional public prosecutor Fizani Husain said the criminal justice system had been misused and the accused should be subjected to trial. But HC said, “They have resolved the issue and would like to leave for their countries.”


LEGAL NEWS 25.05.2012

Court allows Ansari to attend UP Assembly session

PTI | 09:05 PM,May 24,2012

New Delhi, May 24 (PTI) Sitting Uttar Pradesh MLA Mukhtar Ansari charged under MCOCA was today allowed by a Delhi court to attend the Uttar Pradesh assembly session. Additional Sessions Judge Savita Rao allowed Ansari, an MLA from Mau, to attend the assembly session beginning May 28. “A letter dated May 23, 2012 sent by jail superintendent, Agra Jail, UP has been placed on record seeking the permission for production of accused (Ansari) to attend the Legislative Assembly Session. “Accused Mukhtar Ansari, as reported, is a sitting MLA from UP Legislative Assembly. Permission is accordingly accorded for his production to attend the Vidhan Sabha proceedings in the coming sessions of Vidhan Sabha, UP,” the court said. An independent legislator form Mau and an accused in the 2005 murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai, 53-year-old Ansari was charged earlier this month under section 3(4) of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) for being a member of an organised crime syndicate.










New high for criminal case disposal in Thane

Nitin Yeshwantrao, TNN | May 25, 2012, 04.00AM IST

THANE: Disposal of criminal cases by the sessions court in Thane rose to over 52% towards the end of 2011 as against the 31% disposal in 2009, according to statistics compiled by authorities.

A top police official said that cases are dealt with expeditiously at the Thane district court and convictions or acquittals are pronounced in one to two years. Statistics show that criminal cases disposed of at the end of December 2009 were 1.09 lakh, 1.73 lakh in the next year and 2.04 lakh in 2011.

“Criminal cases registered during these years show a rise of around 13%. In 2009, the district courts were dealing with 3.44 lakh criminal cases which rose to 3.90 lakh in 2011. However, the judgments were pronounced swiftly and many cases including the Mira road incest case or the murder of a girl working in a BPO were disposed of in less than 24 months’ time,” a law official said.

Interestingly, the civil cases disposal paled in comparison. Just about 36% cases related to property or other civil disputes were disposed off by district courts by the end of December 2011 as against 33% in 2009.

As against the disposal of 26,885 civil cases in 2009 in the sessions and civil courts in Thane, Kalyan and Palghar, statistics at the end of 2011 shows that judgments were pronounced in 31,322 cases of the 85,900 pending before the courts. Advocate Mahendra Bajpai said civil disputes tend to drag longer due to reasons including lethargy by litigants. “In quite a few property disputes, landlord remains absent or does not pursue the matter once he secures a stay on a lower court order,” he said.









Car bombing case: Court staff warned for misplaced papers

TNN | May 25, 2012, 02.41AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court on Thursday pulled up the court’s record keepers for a “goof-up and wastage of time” after they misplaced some documents in connection with the Israeli diplomat car bombing case.

The court found itself embroiled for over two hours in a lost-and-found drama of some applications of the police for extension of journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi’s judicial custody after his arrest for an alleged role in the attack.

The drama unfolded in the court of additional sessions judge S S Rathi, as he took up for hearing Kazmi’s plea for copies of remand applications of the police for extension of his custody after his arrest.

The sessions court had called for the record of the case including the remand papers from the court of chief metropolitan magistrate, where the case is pending. On perusing the record, the ASJ found five remand applications missing and summoned the CMM’s record-keeper who said that he has given all the documents he had.

The ASJ gave the record-keeper thirty minutes to search all the almirah and bring the record, after which one more document relating to the case was recovered. As the court was hearing the matter, one person came to the court and handed all the remand papers to the record-keeper, who then told the court that his assistant was successful in finding the papers in one almirah.

The court said it was “very strange” that papers were located minutes after the record-keeper stated that he searched all almirah but failed to locate the papers. The court warned the record-keepers, saying that “there was no plausible explanation as to why six original remand papers were not sent to this court earlier”.

Kazmi’s revision petition will be heard on Friday.









Ex-minister Pramila Mallick’s brother held in acid attack case

TNN | May 25, 2012, 05.19AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Former minister Pramila Mallick’s brother Khirod Chandra Mallick was remanded in judicial custody on Thursday for his alleged involvement in an acid attack on a man in Bhubaneswar’s Mancheswar area in October 2011.

A trial court rejected his anticipatory bail plea following petition by the police on the ground that he was booked under section 307 (attempt to murder). Mallick, who is chairman of Biswa (an NGO), was sent to custody for fourteen days, sources said.

“He was earlier booked for conspiring in the acid attack on the man, whose relatives were working in his NGO. We want to know the nature of his involvement in the case. We have prayed the court to take him on remand for interrogation,” Bhubaneswar DCP Nitinjeet Singh said.

Earlier in the day, Mallick appeared in the court of judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) seeking bail in connection with a firing incident in Mancheswar area. Miscreants had opened fire at a BPO company girl on April 13, 2012. He was a suspect in the case as his driver, who was arrested in the incident, pointed the finger at him. Apprehending arrest, Mallick had moved the Orissa high court seeking bail. The high court recently heard his plea and asked him to get the bail from lower court. Soon after he was granted bail by JMFC, police reached the court to arrest him in the acid attack case. Mallick applied for bail, but to no avail.

“My client has been falsely implicated in the case. He was not at all involved in the acid attack case. Police became vindictive after he managed to get bail in the firing incident,” Mallick’s lawyer Dharanidhar Nayak told TOI.

Incidentally, the firing incident is said to have links with the acid attack and another firing incident in Sashtri Nagar in April 2011. Victims of the three cases belonged to the same family and were earlier working with the NGO, sources said. Police suspect that the family was targeted following monetary dispute with the NGO.









Aarushi murder case: Court orders framing of charges against Talwars

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 14:45 IST | Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 16:25 IST
Place: GHAZIABAD | Agency: PTI

A local court today ordered framing of charges against dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the double murder case of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj four years back.

The framing of charges will take place on Friday.

The court said charges under sections 302 (murder) read with 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) and section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information to screen offender) read with 34 of IPC will be framed tomorrow against the couple.

Charges under section 203 (giving false information respecting an offence committed) IPC will be also be put against Rajesh.

“The court agreed with the arguments of the CBI that there were four people in the house in the night and in the morning two were found dead and two were alive,” CBI counsel RK Saini told reporters here.

“Another charge for filing a misleading FIR under section 203 IPC has been ordered to be framed against Rajesh and the case will commence now,” he said.

Saini said the agency’s version that the dressing up of crime scene and no evidence of entry of any outsider shows that the crime was allegedly committed by these two (Rajesh and Nupur), was relied upon by the court.

“Tomorrow charges will be framed and accused will be asked whether they plead guilty or not and the date of producing evidence, i.e, beginning of trial will be given,” he said.

14-year-old Aarushi was found murdered on May 16, 2008 in her bedroom in her Noida house and the body of Hemraj was found the next day from the terrace.

Arguing on behalf of Talwars yesterday, the defence counsel had refuted the prosecution case that their clients could have killed 14-year-old Aarushi and their domestic help Hemraj after having seen them in an objectionable position.

The counsel had contended that the Talwar couple were practicing doctors, had an intercaste marriage and belonged to the elite class of the society and could not have stooped to a level of provocation so as to kill their only daughter.

The defence had also refuted the CBI’s case that since there were four people in the house, the onus was on Nupur and Rajesh to explain what happened on the fateful night of May 15-16, 2008.

It had said the Talwars had gone to sleep and Hemraj had access to the entire house and could have allowed entry of outsiders who could have carried out the killings.

While Rajesh is out on bail, Nupur is lodged in the Dasna jail in Ghaziabad.









UP High Court noitce to NLU Jodhpur on CLAT 2012 question paper ‘anomalies’

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | May 24, 2012, 06.02PM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has issued notice to National Law University (NLU), Jodhpur, on a petition of a class 12th student who pointed out several anomalies in the question paper of Common Law Admission test (CLAT) 2012 and demanded a re-exam.

Justice SS Chauhan, after hearing the petition, issued notice to NLU, Jodhpur, to explain its position. Looking at the urgency of the matter, he has fixed the next date of hearing on May 28. The CLAT result is also expected on May 28. Counsel for the petitioner was permitted by the court to send FAX message to the opposite party informing about the filing of the writ petition and also requesting for appointment of a lawyer to represent the opposite party in the court.

T anaya Thakur in her petition stated that NLU Jodhpur had stated that general knowledge section will only test students on their knowledge of current affairs, that is, matters featuring in the mainstream media between March 2011 and March 2012. Further, it has stated, the exam will test students only on legal aptitude and not any prior knowledge of law or legal concepts. And, if a legal term is used it will be explained in the question itself.

But, Tanya claimed in her petition, at least 22-25 questions in the general knowledge section were beyond the current affairs period. Similarly, there were many legal terms in legal aptitude section whuch were not defined. Since the institution violated its own guidelines and syllabus, Tanaya has prayed that CLAT 2012 should be scrapped and a fresh examination should be held.

The CLAT 2012 was held on May 13 at 46 centres in 20 cities across the country. Almost 26,000 undergraduate and 1,050 postgraduate students took CLAT for admission to bachelor and master courses in law at various National Law Schools. After examinations, many students claimed that more than 25 questions were out of syllabus. Even a protest page against CLAT 2012 came up on Facebook with over 2000 members demanding a re-exam. Some asked for grace marks like last year when 12 marks were awarded to every student because some questions were wrong. One of the student pointed out that some of the questions were similar to Semester one Exams of BA.LLB of Calcutta University.

T he organising committee of CLAT, however, had then denied all charges. Officials had said that the question paper was set by the experts and questions are from within the frame work.







Supreme Court stays CA extension plan

Judicial over-reach, says Bhattarai’s aideResponding to a writ petition, Nepal’s Supreme Court on Thursday issued an interim stay order against the government’s proposal to amend the interim constitution and extend the term of the Constituent Assembly. A single bench of Chief Justice Khila Raj Regmi passed the order.

On November 25, the Court had issued an order in name of the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, the Prime Minister and Office of Council of Ministers, declaring that the extension of the CA, ending on May 27, would be the last one and the CA must promulgate the constitution within the stipulated deadline. If the CA failed to do so, said the Court, its term would end, and there should either be fresh elections for a new CA, or referendum or any other ‘appropriate arrangements’ according to the constitution. A review petition filed against the decision, on the grounds that this was entirely a political decision beyond the prerogative of the judiciary, was quashed by the Court.

On Tuesday, an all-party meeting agreed to initiate the process to amend the interim constitution and extend the CA’s term by another three months. The Cabinet endorsed the decision, and tabled an amendment bill in the legislature-Parliament accordingly. The Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) have since backtracked from the agreement, and opposed an extension.

In its verdict on Thursday, the Supreme Court said instead of taking steps towards the alternatives it proposed — elections, referendum or other appropriate arrangements — the government had acted as if there was no Court decision at all by initiating the process to amend the interim constitution to extend the CA. This, it said, was in violation of the earlier Court order as well constitutional provisions. Since the decision was ‘faulty’, the Court issued the order.

In a separate case against the Prime Minister for contempt of court in proposing an extension, the Court directed both Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Law and Justice Krishna Prasad Situala, who undersigned the amendment bill, to appear personally in court with a written reply within seven days.

Political reactions

Dr. Bhattarai’s political adviser Devendra Poudel however strongly opposed the verdict. He told The Hindu, “This is a direct intervention in the work-spheres of the legislature and the executive. The judiciary has over-reached since this is a purely political matter. We cannot accept this, and will counter this ideologically.”

UML leader Pradeep Gyawali told The Hindu, “The best option would be to agree on a constitution incorporating the areas of agreement between all sides, and promulgate it before May 27. If we do that, the legislature-Parliament will remain intact after that, and it can resolve the other remaining contentious issues like state restructuring.”

But Mr. Poudel said the Maoists would not agree to a ‘constitution without federalism’, as that lies at the heart of the constitution. Madhesi parties and Janjati MPs too have expressed opposition to this proposal however, saying this would be a ‘conspiracy’ to derail their federal aspirations. The party whip will be enforced in Parliament, unlike in the CA which adds to the apprehensions of ethnic lawmakers who want to retain the option of voting against their party decision on issues like federalism. Mr. Gyawali admitted there was a trust deficit. “Madhesis, Janjatis and women feel that future house will not address their concerns. We need to win their trust.”

Lawyers said if the CA gets dissolved without the constitution being written, the institution of the presidency and the government of the day would continue to exist.









EC asked to consider common symbol for YSRCP

A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Justice B. Seshasayana Reddy and Justice K. G. Shankar on Thursday directed the Election Commission of India to reconsider the application submitted by the YSR Congress Party for allotment of common symbol for its candidates in the ensuing by-elections.

The writ petition was filed by a party spokesman B. Govardhan Reddy who contended that the YSR Congress had sought a common symbol but the Election Commission had refused the plea. He filed a writ petition challenging the order of the Commission.

The Bench felt that the application needed to be reconsidered as the rules regarding the allotment of symbols do not deal with the by-elections.

The fledgling party, which is yet to be recognised by the EC, has fielded its candidates in all the 18 Assembly constituencies and to the Nellore Lok Sabha seat.







NCW seeks Patil’s intervention for 33 per cent quota for women

PTI | 11:05 PM,May 24,2012

New Delhi, May 24 (PTI) The National Commission for Women today sought President Pratibha Patil’s intervention to ensure 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies. Led by NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma, a delegation met Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan and handed over a memorandum in this regard. They urged President to take action to ensure that there is 33 per cent reservation for Women In Parliament and State assemblies become a reality. The memorandum said it should be appreciated that the bill would not only revolutionize electoral politics in India but would be a harbinger of social change ending age old gender discrimination in the political system, a statement said. The delegation also discussed various women related issues with the President besides submitting the memorandum to her.









UT land grab: Punjab counsel gets the stick from HC

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 23, 2012

Showing little conviction in the Punjab advocate-general’s (AG) repeated arguments objecting to a judicial panel to probe grabbing of public land by high-ups in Chandigarh’s periphery, the Punjab and Haryana high court directed him to assist the court as a ‘friend of the court’ and sit with the amicus curiae (lawyer acting as ‘friend of the court’), Arun Jain, to finalise the terms of reference for the panel by Thursday.

Retired Supreme Court judge Kuldeep Singh has already given his consent to head the two-member commission or tribunal. However, the bench said that it was also considering if advocate PN Aggarwal, who had expertise in revenue matters, could assist the panel.

When the case came up for arguments before the division bench comprising acting chief justice MM Kumar and justice Alok Singh on Wednesday, AG Ashok Aggarwal reiterated that there was no need to constitute a commission as nobody had questioned the state government’s detailed affidavit in which clean chit was handed to all but seven prominent persons alleged to have encroached upon government land in SAS Nagar district.

However, the bench asked him, “How was the public land made private? What was the nature of land before Independence, and how was it changed later? Your affidavit tries to justify that 60 (influential) people have private land.”

The bench further added, “When people like Saini (DGP Sumedh Singh Saini) and Badal (chief minister Parkash Singh) are involved, how can we expect that such people will decide against themselves?”

When Aggarwal again argued that there was nothing wrong in the affidavit, the bench asked, “Mr Aggarwal, you know better what is going on.” It stated that as the affidavit carried “entries which are nowhere on the record”.

“You should have mentioned in the report what as the original nature of land…Let the commission come. It will tell the whole world (what the reality is), and you yourself will be surprised,” the bench told Aggarwal.

During the arguments, senior advocate ML Sareen made a submission that he had also been appointed amicus curiae in a similar case by the high court where a huge number of encroachment cases in Punjab had been highlighted. He said that the bench had directed the state to submit the records of all the cases and make efforts to evict illegal encroachers as per the Supreme Court’s directions.






Green tribunal suspends nod for Srikakulam plant

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 24, 2012

The National Green Tribunal has asked the environment ministry to notify all wetlands in the country to avoid developmental projects in its vicinity as it suspended environment clearance to the thermal power plant in Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh.

In an order issued on Wednesday, the tribunal also asked the ministry to finalise the guidelines and site criteria for Thermal Power Plants urgently.  The tribunal had found that the existing guidelines had failed to take note of factors that affect the environment and ecology today.

“It is pertinent to note that the siting criteria produced before us were framed 25 years ago,” the tribunal said, while hearing petitions by six locals against the 2,640 MW thermal power plant of Nagarajuna Construction Company.

The appellants in the case had alleged that the proposed project site was a wetland not suitable for commercial use. It will adversely affect irrigation schemes of the area and lead to scarcity of drinking water and fishing. They also said the project will stop farmers from growing seasonal crops and vegetables, and destroy a breeding area for migratory birds.

The petitioners also contended that the environment ministry didn’t consider objections raised by a majority of those affected.

The project proponents, however, said such claims were baseless and the site was not a notified wetland. The ministry said the project was cleared after taking into account all environmental aspects.

The tribunal said that another opportunity should be provided to locals to express their views on the project and, till then, the approval should remain suspended.

The tribunal also suspended environment clearance to the 1,200 MW thermal power plant in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu.







Tribunal suspends TN power project’s clearance

Nitin Sethi, TNN | May 25, 2012, 03.19AM IST

NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) suspended clearance to a 3,600 MW project of IL&FS Tamil Nadu Power Company Ltd in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, ordering a cumulative impact assessment before the clearance is reactivated even though the laws do not require such a study.

In another decision that will have wide implications, the NGT also asked for continued suspension of Nagarjuna Construction Company’s 2,640 MW thermal power plant at Sompeta, Andhra Pradesh, where two people died and several were seriously injured in firing upon those protesting against the project being built on a wetland.

In its order, it demanded that the government update its criteria for selecting sites for power plants and that project proponents share detailed and complete studies with the affected people during mandatory public hearings.

Both the decisions are expected to have an impact on the clearance process for future and ongoing projects.

The NGT ordered, “We direct MoEF (environment ministry) to make available the relevant information other than EIA report and report of the public hearing considered during the appraisal of the project through its website. Similarly, the concerned State Pollution Control Board should also make available in their website the pertinent information regarding the public hearing proceedings, compliance status etc.”

In the same order recommending a cumulative emission impact before the Cuddalore project is given a go-ahead, it set a precedent that could impact the areas, such as Himalayan river basins – where the demand for cumulative impact assessments has been partly accepted. The government has carried out or has commissioned studies but permitted projects to continue alongside.

In its order on the Nagarjuna case, the NGT said, “We direct the MoEF to finalize the guidelines and siting criteria for thermal power plant urgently and file a copy thereof before this tribunal as early as possible but not later than three months as it is the most important component of EIA process and cannot be delayed any more.”

It further said, “MoEF may also finalize and notify the important wetlands in the country as early as possible so that location of developmental projects in and around such ecologically sensitive areas could be avoided in future.”






AP: Senior IPS Officer Tewari reinstated

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Senior IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre SR Tewari, who was dismissed from service following an enquiry by the Border Security Force in September 2010, has been reinstated into service and is likely to be given a posting shortly.

The Union Public Service Commission had recommended that Tewari be dismissed from service with immediate effect following an inquiry into various allegations against him.

The allegations were made against Tewari, a 1982-batch IPS officer, while he was working as BSF inspector-general in North Bengal Frontier and was based at Siliguri in 2006. The allegations range from “misuse of office” to indulging in “certain acts” which brought disrepute to the BSF.

In November the same year he was suspended from the BSF and was asked to appear before top officials of the paramilitary force at its headquarters in New Delhi. A departmental investigation followed and a report was submitted after which the UPSC wrote to the MHA recommending his dismissal.

Tewari moved the Central Administrative Tribunal, Delhi. The matter then went to the Delhi High Court and subsequently to the Supreme Court.

Recently, the Union ministry of home affairs issued orders directing that Tewari be reinstated with immediate effect.

The orders reached chief secretary Pankaj Dwivedi, sources said, adding that Tewari was likely to be given a posting shortly.










CBI moves closer to Jagan with Andhra minister’s arrest

The ongoing probe by the Central Brueau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged disproportionate case of YSR Congress party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy claimed its first casualty in the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh when the CBI arrested minister for excise and prohibition Mopidevi Venkataramana on Thursday afternoon.

The minister was arrested soon after his arrival at Dilkusha guest house, the make-shift office of the CBI in Hyderabad, for the second consecutive day for being questioned in the Jagan case. He was charged with various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including Section 120 (b) read with 420 (cheating with criminal conspiracy), 409 (criminal breach of trust) and 477A (falsification of accounts), as well as Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Before leaving for the CBI office, the minister submitted his resignation letter to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who later forwarded the same to Governor E S L Narasimhan for accepting it. The CBI later filed a memo in the CBI court, including the name of Venkataramana as one of the accused in Jagan’s case, as his name did not figure in the First Information Report (FIR) registered on August 17 last year.

While producing the minister in court, the CBI sought his custody for seven days. The court, however, agreed only to a five-day custory with effect from Friday, after which he would be sent to judicial remand till June 7. The minister was later sent to Chanchalguda jail.

Venkataramana, who held the portfolio of infrastructure and investment in the Y S Rajasekhara Reddy cabinet, had signed the controversial government orders pertaining to land allotments and other sops to the multi-thousand crore Vodarevu And Nizampatnam Port and Industrial Corridor (VANPIC) project involving prominent industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad, the biggest investor in Jagan’s business ventures.

He is among the six ministers of the YSR cabinet who were named by the Supreme Court recently, along with eight IAS officers, to be questioned in the case. The ministers had signed 26 controversial GOs, doling out various sops to several industrialists as a quid pro quo arrangement for their investments in Jagan’s business empire.

The CBI has already questioned home minister Sabita Indra Reddy in the case and is expected to quiz four others — Ponnala Lakshmiah, Kanna Lakshminarayana, Dharmana Prasada Rao and J Geetha Reddy — who held important portfolios during the YSR regime.

Soon, after the media flashed the news about the arrest of Venkataramana, his supporters enforced a bandh in Nizampatnam, his native village, and Repalle town in Guntur district. All the shops and other establishments were forced to down the shutters in protest.

CBI officials, who had grilled Venkataramana for nine hours on Wednesday, charged him with violation of norms and also not taking the opinion of the finance and law departments while issuing the GO allotting more than 15,500 acres of land in Guntur and Prakasam districts to VANPIC and granting it exemptions under Stamps and Registration Act.

CBI sleuths interrogated him in the presence of industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and bureaucrat K V Brahmananda Reddy, who was the then special secretary in the investments and infrastructure department. Both had been arrested on May 16. After cross-checking the information given by the two, the CBI arrested the minister.

Before leaving for the CBI office on Thursday morning, the minister said the allotments to VANPIC were made as per the cabinet decisions, and he was being made a scapegoat while it was a collective decision by the cabinet. He lamented that his cabinet colleagues were not coming to his rescue.









Jal Mahal land lease cancellation challenged in Supreme Court

TNN | May 25, 2012, 03.12AM IST

JAIPUR: The Jal Mahal land lease agreement dispute reached the Supreme Court on Thursday, as was widely anticipated.

The private company, the Jal Mahal Resorts Pvt Ltd that was to lose the lease after the Rajasthan High Court declared the agreement illegal, filed a special leave petition (SLP) before the apex court, challenging the verdict passed on May 17. The SLP was mentioned before a division bench of Justice Deepak Verma and Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya that directed that the case to be listed again on Friday.

The state government had leased out 100 acre prime land near Jaipur’s Man Sagar Lake and the 17{+t}{+h} century monument Jal Mahal in the lake to the private company for 99 years. The land estimated to be worth Rs 3500 crore was handed over to the company in return for merely Rs 2.5 crore annual lease money, while the monument was given away for an annual licence fee of just Re 1. The government justified the agreement saying the company would restore and maintain the neglected lake and monument and, thus, boost tourism in the state.

The Ashok Gehlot government, which has been tight lipped ever since the high court termed the lease agreement irrational and illegal, too, appeared before the division bench on Thursday even though no notices were issued to it. The state government was represented by former solicitor general Soli Sorabjee and additional advocate general Manish Singhvi. There were reports, though, that the state government was also examining to file a separate SLP in appeal against the high court judgment of May 17.

Even as the Rajasthan high court verdict was based on public interest litigations (PILs) filed by three separate parties, the private company chose to include only one of them (Prof KP Sharma) as a respondent in its SLP. “We were deliberately not included among the respondents as we had filed a caveat before the Supreme Court in this matter,” said AK Jain, lawyer for the Dharohar Bachao Samiti, which had also filed the PIL in high court.

On behalf of the private company, senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam justified the lease agreement saying that it was signed through international bidding. The company said it was wrong to cancel the agreement seven years after it was signed and when the project’s first phase was almost complete. It was reasoned that the company had invested Rs 80 crore on the project and if the agreement were cancelled now, it would lead to loss of faith against the government among the investors.

The Jal Mahal Resorts Pvt Ltd also opposed the high court ruling that the leased out 100 acre land was not part of the Man Sagar Lake.









Restore Security To Advocate: SC—security-to-advocate-sc/260870-60-114.html

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Andhra Pradesh government for withdrawing security to an advocate that had been provided at the apex court’s direction and asked it to restore it.
Judges Deepak Verma and S J Mukhopadhyay said the state’s director-general of police would have to face contempt of court if he does not provide police protection to R Chandrasekhar Reddy.
Police protection was provided by the apex court after Chandrasekhar Reddy alleged that he was facing a threat to his life after he filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court challenging the state government’s decision to release 1500 prisoners in 2007.
“How can you withdraw police protection when it was done on the court’s orders? You might have to face contempt,” the bench warned the state government. The court was hearing an interim application by Chandrasekhar Reddy in which he said he continues to face a threat.
The apex court had in August 2007 stayed the Andhra Pradesh government’s plan to release 1,500 prisoners, including life convicts, on the occasion of 150 years of the First War of Independence.
The court passed the order on a PIL filed by Chandrasekhar Reddy questioning the release of prisoners, alleging that the government wanted to benefit a Cong worker Gouru Venkata Reddy, who was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment .









Karnataka official’s death: Court takes suo moto cognizance

NDTV Correspondent | Updated: May 25, 2012 10:31 IST

Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court has taken suo moto cognisance and initiated a public interest litigation regarding the the brutal attack on S.P. Mahantesh, the Deputy Director of Cooperative Audit Department who died on May 20.

A notice has now been sent to the Principal Secretary of the Home Department and the Bangalore City Police Commissioner who have been directed to file a progress report at least a day before the next hearing of the case on June 21st.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna said “keeping all the dimensions of the death of Mr. Mahantesh in perspective, we exercise suo motu power.”
Mr Mahantesh was found unconscious on May 15, near a hotel in Bangalore. He succumbed to his injuries, five days later. The official was working as Deputy Director of the Audit wing in the state’s Cooperative department and had reported irregularities in different societies involving officials and politicians. There are allegations that this may be the reason for the attack on him.









High Court initiates PIL in Mahantesh case

Dotices to be issued to Principal Secretary, Home Department, City Police Commissioner

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday initiated a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) petition into the recent murder of Deputy Director of the Cooperative Audit S.P. Mahantesh.

The court acted on its own, observing from media reports that there was scepticism, if not suspicion, in the minds of people regarding the investigation being conducted. It ordered notice to be issued to the Principal Secretary, Home Department, and the City Police Commissioner.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna said that “keeping all the dimensions of the death of Mr. Mahantesh in perspective, we exercise suo motu power”.

The Bench also directed the city police to file a progress report on the investigation a day prior to the next date of hearing while adjourning the hearing till June 21.

Mr. Mahantesh, who was auditing various house building cooperative societies, was found with serious head injuries lying on the pavement on Palace Road on the night of May 15. He succumbed to the injuries at a private hospital on May 21.









HC stays Sakshi freeze order

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday stayed the CBI Court’s order to freeze the current accounts of three Jagan media companies, Jagati publications, Indira Television and Janani Infrastructure. It, however, left the fixed deposits of about `94 crore at Oriental Bank of Commerce frozen.
Justice B Chandra Kumar, in his interim order, permitted the petitioners (Jagati publications, Indira television and Janani infra) to operate the current accounts. He made it clear that all transactions, including salaries to employees, should be made through cheques and the media house would be obliged to submit monthly statements relating to financial transactions to the lower court dealing with the case. “Not only staff working in these organisations, but those dependent on them will be affected if they are not paid salaries,” he added.
The judge also made it clear that none of the companies should alienate, transfer or sell any of the properties in question. The banks concerned should not release the fixed deposits without prior permission from the court.
It may be recalled that the CBI had frozen bank accounts of the three firms with the SBI, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Indian Overseas Bank. Petitioners’ counsel said the company would provide bank guarantee for the amount in three current accounts, but not for the fixed deposits








NGO moves HC for retrieving black money from foreign banks

PTI | 09:05 PM,May 24,2012

Mumbai, May 24 (PTI) An NGO today urged the Bombay High Court to direct the Centre and Maharashtra Government to submit records pertaining to black money stashed away in foreign banks and order an inquiry into siphoning off unaccounted wealth from the country. The PIL filed by the ‘Rashtriya Brashtachar Virodhi Janshakti’ also requested the high court to monitor such inquiry and direct the authorities to register an FIR against those who have deposited unaccounted wealth in foreign banks. The petition referred to media reports which claimed that between 2002 to 2006, black money to the tune of Rs 70,00,000 crores have been siphoned off from the country and stashed away in banks abroad. The NGO said that both the governments had not put in efforts to retrieve the black money lying in foreign banks, which could be used to cover the budget deficit and for the development of the nation. The PIL will come up for hearing after the summer vacation. PTI SVS NSK








Suicide over education loan: HC grants bail to bank official

TNN | May 25, 2012, 12.45AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala high court on Thursday granted bail to the deputy manager of a private bank who was arrested following the suicide of a nursing student who was denied education loan.

Jobun Feni, a deputy manager of loans section, who was booked by police as second accused was granted conditional bail by Justice N K Balakrishnan.

Jobun was arrested by police on May 9 in connection with the suicide of the student, Sruthy from Kudamaloor. After being summoned to the police station for questioning, he was arrested and produced before Kottayam judicial first class magistrate court.

In his bail application, the deputy manager had stated that he had no role in granting loan and his duty was only to verify the eligibility and forward the application to higher-ups.

Prosecution opposed the bail plea, stating that investigation and collection of evidence was in progress. However, the court granted Jobun bail, noticing that he had been in remand since May 9.

Earlier, additional director general of prosecution K I Abdul Rasheed had opposed the claim of the bank officials that they had no direct role in granting loans.

The additional DGP had pointed out that the loan was passed by the bank a day after the student had attempted suicide, which means that the student was put to undue hardship even when the loan could have been granted.









Victim will have to request HC to repeal FIR: Police

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
May 24, 2012

Unmoved by the speculation that the US national, allegedly molested by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) player Luke Pomersbach inside her room at a five-star hotel wants to withdraw the case, the Delhi Police continued its investigation on Wednesday and said they were ready to file the chargesheet in the case.

The police said that in order to withdraw the case, the victim has to approach the high court. This is because once an FIR is lodged, only the court is authorised to quash it.

“We will close the case only when we receive directions from the high court. We will file a chargesheet in the case. The victim can request the high court to quash the FIR. But the court can reject the request,” said a senior police officer.

Pomersbach, who was arrested on May 18, had also allegedly assaulted the victim’s friend — Sahil Peerzada —who had suffered injuries on his left ear and. Peerzada was discharged from Primus Hospital in Chanakyapuri on Monday.

A family member of Peerzada is claimed to have told media that they did not want to pursue the case. Sources said that both the parties were eyeing for an out-of-court settlement.

Sources further claimed that the victim was planning to withdraw the legal notice issued against Siddhartha Mallya while seeking apology for his tweets.

Police sources said that Miraj, who was also present in the hotel room at the time of the incident, had not recorded his statement yet.

“Only Miraj and a few RCB members are left now, else the investigation is almost complete. After recording their statements, we will file the chargesheet,” the officer added. The statements of 12 people, including the hotel staff and friends of the victim, have been recorded so far. The victim had alleged that five persons had threatened her to withdraw the case.

A woman friend of the victim, an Israeli national, was also questioned on Wednesday. The police said that the Israeli national had alleged that her friend (victim) was threatened by the RCB players to withdraw the case.

The police have also identified two persons and are questioned them, while the remaining three (all foreigners) are yet to be identified. The police also plan to record the statement of other RCB  members such as its coach Ray Jennings and its party coordinator.

“We are still looking for evidence to substantiate the claims made by the victim. If we manage to find evidence, a separate case will be registered,” said the police.

Meanwhile, the victim and her lawyer could not be reached for comments.








Murder case:HC orders suo motu notice to Home Secretary

PTI | 08:05 PM,May 24,2012

Bangalore,May 24 (PTI) Exercising suo motu power, the Karnataka High Court today ordered issue of notice to Home Secretary and City Police Commissioner on a PIL based on newspaper reports regarding the death of State Administrative service officer S P Mahantesh, asking them to file a progress report on the matter by June 20. A Division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen also appointed advocate Clifton D Rozario as amicus curiae to assist the court in the case. “From the articles appearing in various newspapers, it is evident that there is scepticism, if not suspicion in the minds of public at large with regard to the enquiry that is being conducted on the unfortunate fatal attack on late Mahantesh, who was conducting audit of House Building Co-Operative Societies,” it said. “Keeping all the dimensions of the death of KAS officer in perspective, we exercise suo motu power and issue notice to Principal Secretary to Home department as well as Commissioner of Police returnable by June 21, 2012,” the bench said. 48-year-old Mahantesh, said to be a whistle-blower in controversial land allotments by societies, suffered head injuries in an alleged attack by unidentified persons on May 15, and died in a private hospital here five days later. Mahantesh was working as Deputy Director of the audit wing in the state’s Cooperative department and had reported irregularities in different societies involving some officials and political figures.










Will 12,500 more people be able to watch the IPL final?

A Subramani, TNN May 24, 2012, 02.38PM IST

CHENNAI: The fate of three massive stands at M A Chidambaram cricket stadium at Chepauk in Chennai, with an additional seating capacity of 12,500, will be known at 2.30 pm today when a vacation court of the Madras high court hears the matter at a special sitting.

The stadium is set to host the high-voltage IPL-V semifinals on Friday and finals on Sunday. Keen to avoid empty stands during the event, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) approached the Madras high court on Wednesday seeking permission to put the stands to use for at least on these two days. TNCA told the court that they plan to sell Rs 500 and Rs 750 tickets for the stands, which would fetch Rs 25 lakh as entertainment tax for the state government.

On April 16, the housing and urban development department issued a conditional approval for the galleries, stating that the TNCA authorities must obtain traffic, fire safety and environmental clearance from competent authorities.

Today, the bench of Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice B Rajendran will hear the state government’s stand on the matter and pass orders.

The newly built I, J and K Stands were sealed by the Chennai Corporation in August 2011 as they had been constructed without due planning permission.







Man seeks to withdraw plea against cops, gets HC showcause

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri May 25 2012, 02:55 hrs

After a man sought to withdraw his petition in which he had accused Jamnagar SP and two other policemen of torturing him in police custody, the High Court on Thursday issued him a showcause asking why he should not be prosecuted for furnishing false information.

A day earlier, the HC had asked the petitioner, one Vishal Singala, to lodge a criminal complaint against Jamnagar SP Subhash Trivedi and the two other policemen he had accused of torturing him.

Singala had moved HC seeking directions for prosecution of the three policemen.

Public Prosecutor Prakash Jani said the state government on Thursday informed the court that it had initiated an inquiry against the three policemen to be conducted by a DIG-level officer. “However, after this, the petitioner sought to withdraw his demand saying he did not want to proceed on the matter because his community members did not want him to continue with this,” Jani said.

“The court took this very seriously and issued a showcause notice to the petitioner asking him to explain by next Tuesday as to why he shouldn’t be prosecuted for furnishing false information before the court ,” Jani added.

According to Singala, in August last year, Trivedi and two other

policemen had beaten him severely while he was in police custody after being arrested in a case of prohibition.

He had approached the HC alleging slow pace of progress on his complaint before a magisterial court in Jamnagar district.






HC permits TNCA to use stands of MAC stadium for IPL matches

PTI | 07:05 PM,May 24,2012

Chennai, May 24 (PTI) The Madras High Court today allowed the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association to use three stands, declared as unauthorised by the state government, of the M A Chidambaram stadium here during the semi-finals and finals of the Indian Premier League on May 25 and 27 respectively. Giving the interim injunction, valid for a week, on a petition by the TNCA, the court directed the Association to provide a written undertaking to ensure the safety, security and maintenance aspects of the ‘I’, ‘J’ and ‘K’ stands and posted the petition for hearing after two weeks. A division bench, comprising Justices V Dhanapalan and T Mathivanan, made it clear that the order would be subject to the outcome of petitions being heard pertaining to the stands. Chennai Super Kings take on Delhi Daredevils tomorrow and the winner of that match will play against Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL final on May 27. (More)








HC asks John to approach RPO for passport renewal

PTI | 05:05 PM,May 24,2012

Mumbai, May 24 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today directed actor John Abraham, convicted for negligent driving and injuring two persons, to approach the regional passport office seeking renewal of his passport. Justice P D Kode has asked the passport office to consider John’s application on merits and in accordance with law. John had approached the high court seeking direction to the passport authority for renewal of his passport for a year which expired within six months. John approached the passport office seeking renewal. However, the passport office refused to decide on his application saying if any case is pending against the applicant then court permission has to be taken before renewal or issuance of a new passport. In his petition, the actor claimed that since the High Court has granted him probation there was no case pending against him. The High Court had recently upheld the 15-day sentence awarded to John for rash and negligent driving in 2006. However, his sentence was suspended and the actor was released on probation under the Probation of Offenders Act. John wants renewal of his passport to travel to Turkey for a film shoot. In his petition, John said the Turkish government rules prescribe that work visa should be given only to those who have a passport valid for over six months. PTI SP GK









Zohal moves HC for nixing case against Luke

New Delhi, May 24, 2012

US national Zohal Hamid on Wednesday moved the Delhi high court seeking quashing of FIR against Australian cricketer Luke Pomersbach, whom she had accused of molesting her. Zohal Hamid on Wednesday night decided to withdraw molestation case against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) player Pomersbach after both parties reached an out of court settlement.

She will also drop legal proceedings against RCB director Siddhartha Mallya for casting aspersions on her character through tweets after she complained to police about molestation by the cricketer.

“Yes,” Rajneesh Chopra, Hamid’s lawyer told PTI in a text message when asked whether the American national was withdrawing case against Pomersbach and legal proceedings against Mallya.

In a late night Tweet siddharth Mallya said, “So glad that all charges have been dropped and Luke can return down under A FREE MAN!”

“I’ve always been a very loyal person who stands up for friends. The tweets/comments made were unfortunate, being the product of stressful circumstances & I realise people drew meaning and connotations other than and beyond what was intended against Zohal,” he tweeted.

Pomersbach was arrested last Friday after Hamid alleged he molested her and hit her fiance Sahil when he objected to the cricketer’s behaviour. Pomersbach was arrested and a court granted him bail later.

The first indication to this out of court settlement came earlier on Wednesday when Sahil’s brother Feroz claimed they did not want to pursue the case. Feroz said that Pomersbach should not have done what he did.

“He should have respect for women. Luke has done a blunder. He should apologise and we should also forgive and forget.

“We don’t want to pursue against Luke. We have not been pressurised by anyone. No one has approached us,” he said.

He also said they do not want to pursue a case against Mallya.

He also rebutted Hamid’s claim that she was Sahil’s fiancee.

“Whatever happened was most unfortunate. Officially I am saying, Sahil is not engaged to Zohal,” he said.









SC stays HC order on removing cellphone towers

New Delhi , May 24, 2012The private telecom operators in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh are going to be a relieved lot. The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed a Punjab and Haryana High Court order on removing cellphone towers installed in residential areas till further orders.
A bench of justices Deepak Verma and SJ Mukhopadhaya gave these order on a plea filed by private telecom operators against the high court order and issued notices to the state governments, asking it to file their response by the next date of hearing.

The private telecom operators had moved the apex court against the high court’s order, which had said last week that state governments could demolish the towers that did not comply with the norms.

A division bench of the high court on Monday had asked the state governments to direct all municipal councils, corporations and other local bodies to take action against mobile phone towers installed in residential areas without following the norms. The bench had also directed the administration to file a survey report on towers in Chandigarh.











Vectra Helicorp moves HC against DGCA order

New Delhi, May 24, 2012

A Director and a shareholder of Global Vectra Helicorp, the aviation arm of the Ravi Rishi-led Vectra Group, on Thursday moved the Delhi high court against the order of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to suspend its permit to fly choppers.

The court is already hearing the plea of Global Vectra Helicorp against the same order, and today its director Raj Menon and a shareholder Rohit Hans, who has 960 shares in the company, approached the court, questioning the DGCA’s actions.

The CBI probe against Rishi, who is one of the directors of the company and has three percent stake in it, in connection with Tatra truck deal cannot be the basis for blacklisting a company which has been supplying choppers for various purposes in the country since 1998, senior advocate Parag Tripathy contended while appearing for the petitioners.

On May 7, DGCA has suspended the firm’s operating permit after the home ministry raised security concerns.

Tripathy contended that while issuing the order, no reason was cited by DGCA and it has not applied its mind while issuing order.

He submitted that Home Ministry informed the DGCA that security clearance of Ravi Rishi has been withdrawn and as a consequence DGCA has proceeded to exercise its power and suspended the non-schedule operator’s permit.

Currently, the CBI is probing the alleged role of Rishi, London-based Vectra Group chairperson, in connection with the multi-crore-rupee deal for the heavy-duty all-terrain Tatra trucks for the army and the bribery charges made by Army chief Gen V K Singh.

“This is the commercial operation of the company, I have to fly to Vaishno Devi to take pilgrims there, and to operate onshore and offshore operations for oil companies. Commercial operation cannot be stopped,” Tripathy said.

Maintaing that the Directors’s positions has to be protected here, the counsel said that because of Rishi the whole company cannot be come to an end.

The lawyer also argued, “People have been employed there, we have to pay salaries of pilots and by the time government will come with its preliminary enquiry report, whole of my business would be shut down.”

The central government earlier informed the court that a preliminary enquiry has been initiated by it against the Global Vectra Helicorp, and the probe will be completed in three weeks.

“On the basis of preliminary enquiry, we will decide within three weeks whether we want to continue with the suspension order or not, and on that basis, we will pass further orders as to whether the suspension of the permit against the company would continue or not,” the government counsel had said.

Justice Vipin Sanghi, hearing the matter, posted it for Friday hearing.

The company had earlier contended that the order on the company’s operating permit and cancelling the security clearance had been passed without a show cause notice and hence was in complete violation of the principle of natural justice.

With a fleet of 23 choppers, the company operates onshore and offshore operations for oil companies and also caters to tourists in northeast India.






HC: Ensure 25 pc EWS reservation in all classes

Express news service : New Delhi, Fri May 25 2012, 00:32 hrs

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed all the unaided private schools in the city to ensure 25 per cent reservation in all classes between nursery and Class I for students belonging to disadvantaged groups and economically weaker sections (EWS).

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said all such schools, whenever they admit students between nursery and Class I at at any stage, will have to admit 25 per cent EWS students as per the RTE Act.

While disposing a plea by NGO ‘Social Jurist’, through advocate Ashok Agarwal and Khagesh Jha, the bench relied on a Supreme Court judgment, which had upheld the constitutional validity of the RTE Act and reiterated May 30 as the deadline for admitting such students under a special drive of the Directorate of Education (DoE).

Agarwal had referred to the DOE’s report, mentioning they had sought a clarification from the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) on whether the 25 per cent criterion for EWS admission was also applicable when admissions are given beyond the entry-level in schools.







Disciplinary action can be taken against Gen: HC

TNN | May 25, 2012, 04.48AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Thursday ruled that the Centre cannot be asked to withdraw a press release issued by the Army against a retired lieutenant general, but disciplinary action “can be taken” against the Army chief and four others who “exceeded their jurisdiction and defamed” the officer.

Justice Mukta Gupta refused to direct the government to withdraw the March 5 press release in which Army chief General V K Singh had accused Lt Gen (Retd) Tejinder Singh of offering him a bribe. “The press release was not issued by the central government, so it cannot be directed to disown, retract or withdraw the press release,” she said.

However, the court noted that the Army chief and four other officers exceeded their jurisdiction and defamed Lt Gen Singh and thus disciplinary action could be taken against them by the concerned disciplinary authority. “Respondent 2 to 6 (Army chief and four officers) exceeded in their jurisdiction and defamed petitioner and thus disciplinary action be taken against them. Taking disciplinary action is a part and parcel of the concerned disciplinary authority,” the court said, adding that Tejinder Singh could make a representation before the authorities concerned seeking initiation of disciplinary proceedings.

Lt Gen Singh had approached the court after the Army chief issued the release that said he was offered Rs 14 crore in bribe to clear a tranche of 600 ‘sub-standard’ vehicles for the Army. He moved the court seeking withdrawal of the press release that levelled “serious allegation” against him.

Accepting the government’s argument that the press release was issued by the Army, the court said the statement was not issued by the Union of India or with its approval.

Justice Gupta said that in case Lt Gen Singh made any representation for taking disciplinary action against the Army chief and other officers, action could be taken by the authority in accordance with law.









HC rejects Bidari’s IA, refers it back to the same bench

PTI | 10:05 PM,May 24,2012

Bangalore,May24 (PTI) Karnataka High Court today rejected the interlocutory application filed by former state DGP Shankar Mahadev Bidari praying that his plea seeking reinstatement, be referred to a different bench. Rejecting the application, a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen referred it back to the same bench which had heard the matter earlier. On May 17,a Division bench, comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice H S Kempanna, referred the matter to be placed before the Chief Justice. Asked whether bench headed by Justice N Kumar had recused themselves from hearing the matter, senior counsel S N Chandrashekhar representing Bidari said they had not done so and only referred the matter to be placed before the Chief Justice for appropriate orders. “If they recuse themselves, then it is an administrative action. It can be referred to a different bench, it is not a problem. If they don’t, we are not an appellate court….if a CJ has to take back a case every time a bench is not willing to hear it, it is doomsday”, the bench headed by the Chief Justice said. “In these circumstances, we think it proper to post the writ petition and all pending portions before the same bench for taking a decision as to whether the lordships comprising that bench would think it appropriate to recuse themeselves from the matter”, the bench observed. The bench sought to know from counsel whether filing an Interlocutory Application will not amount to “bench hunting.” “If there is going to be bench hunting, I will not do it…. go back to the bench”, the Chief Justice said. “In what capacity do you expect the Chief Justice to move one case from one bench to another bench. We are not an appellate court”, the bench said. Senior counsel submitted that he was not indulging in bench hunting and that he was not given an opportunity to make submissions on his IA. MORE











HC issues contempt notices to pilots, IPG

Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 23, 2012

The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued contempt notices against 67 Air India pilots on strike, including top office-bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), for continued defiance of its repeated directions to end their agitation.

The Air India management had moved court seeking contempt proceedings after all efforts to persuade the pilots failed. Pilots and the IPG have to reply to the notices by July 13. If found guilty of contempt, the pilots face a jail term of maximum three months.

On May 9, the court first declared the strike illegal and asked pilots to resume work.

“I still feel better sense will prevail on pilots. Nobody seems to be concerned with the plight of the passengers. A public utility service cannot be held to ransom in this fashion,” justice Reva Khetrapal said.










HC turns tables on Nirmal Baba in libel case

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 24, 2012

A defamation suit filed by self-proclaimed godman Nirmal Baba against a media portal seems to have backfired on him.

While hearing a plea by Nirmaljit Singh Narula, popularly known as Nirmal Baba, demanding removal of ‘ defamatory’ articles from the website and Rs. 21 lakh as damages, the Delhi high court on Wednesday sought the response of the vernacular media portal — bhadas4media — in the case.

Justice Kailash Gambhir, however, also asked Nirmal Baba to file copies of complaints and FIRs registered against him to judge as to whether the articles are defamatory or not.

“The plaintiff is directed to place on record the copy of complaints and FIRs against him. In the meantime, summons of the suit and the notice be sent to respondents (bhadas4media and Yashwant Singh) returnable on May 30,” the court said.

Baba, who has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons, had moved court seeking directions to stop the Hindi portal from publishing defamatory articles.

“Around 30 TV channels show programmes of Nirmal Baba who has 3.7 lakh followers on Facebook. Such write-ups have defamed him,” his petition said.









HC directive to EC on YSR Cong’s symbol plea

TNN | May 25, 2012, 02.14AM IST

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the high court comprising Justice B Seshasayana Reddy and Justice KG Shankar on Thursday directed the Election Commission of India to reconsider the application made by the YSR Congress for allotment of common symbol to its candidates who are contesting the ensuing byelections. The writ petition was filed by B Govardahn Reddy.

He contended that his party had sought common symbol and the election commission had refused the plea. The present writ petition was filed challenging the order of the commission. The bench felt that the application needed to be reconsidered as the rules regarding the allotment of symbols did not deal with the byelections and directed reconsideration.

Arguments in the case filed by CBI seeking cancellation of bail granted to auditor Vijay Sai Reddy, close aide of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy accused number one will continue on Friday. Justice Chandra Kumar heard the case for a while and adjourned the case to Friday.










HC refuses to ask govt to withdraw army press release

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 24, 2012

In a boost to army chief General VK Singh, the Delhi high court on Thursday refused to direct the Centre to withdraw the March 5 press release of the army, which accused Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh of offering a bribe to the army chief in connection with a defence deal.

“The Union of India cannot be directed to disown or retract the aforesaid press release,” justice Mukta Gupta said while disposing off a petition by Tejinder Singh seeking withdrawal of the alleged defamatory press release.

The court also considered the reply of the defence ministry that it had no role in the issuance of March 5 press release as it was given out by the army headquarters.

The court, however, said Tejinder Singh could make a representation before the authorities concerned seeking initiation of disciplinary proceedings against five army officials including chief of army staff Gen VK Singh.

Tejinder Singh also wanted vice-chief of army staff SK Singh, Lt Gen BS Thakur (DG MI), Maj Gen SL Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney to be made accused in the case.

He contended that the release issued by senior army officers, including army chief general VK Singh, was “defamatory”.

“Taking disciplinary action is part and parcel of the disciplinary authority. In case a representation is made for taking the action, the same would be considered by the authorities concerned,” justice Gupta said.

In his plea, ex-Lt gen Tejinder Singh had said he was also accused of managing media reports and was questioned for his alleged role in the purchase of off-the-air monitoring system.










HC asks Shankar M Bidari to file objections

TNN | May 25, 2012, 06.51AM IST

BANGALORE: A high court division bench headed by Justice N Kumar has asked Shankar M Bidari, MD, Karnataka State Police Housing Corporation, to file his objections to the application filed by AR Infant, DGP, for initiating contempt proceedings.

In his application, Infant has sought for initiating contempt proceedings against Bidari in the backdrop of his filing an application seeking change of the bench. The hearing will resume on Friday.
As per the Supreme Court’s order, the matter has to be decided afresh before May 31 , when both the contesting officers are due for superannuation .


In the morning session ,the matter came up before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen. However , the bench was of the view that since the bench headed by Justice N Kumar had not passed orders on the application seeking another bench, the petition cannotbetaken up by this bench (CJ bench ) as it is not an appellate bench.

As regard to Bidari”s apprehension that the bench headed by Justice Kumar may not change its view vis-a-vis March 30 judgment on the controversy , the Chief Justice said that in many matters like the present one , the judges have taken a different view from the first view.

The Chief Justice also said that Bidari could have told the Supreme Court about this when the matter was returned by it last month. Bidari’s counsel replied that it did not occur to them that the matter would be sent back .


The bench after perusing the March 30 judgment renderedby thebenchheaded by Justice N Kumar wondered why Bidari had invoked names like Saddam Hussein or Colonel Gaddafi in his statements before the CAT .

Counselling for in-service candidates stayed

Justice Ashok B Hinchigeri on Thursday stayed counselling for admission to PG courses under in-service quota. The judge also ordered status quo with respect to counselling already held in this category . Dr Shivanagouda Y Mulkipatil, Dr Mitaxari M Hugar and Dr P Santhosh Kumar have challenged the selection of three candidates under the category. They claimed Dr C Suresh and Dr Hanumantha Raju had been selected despite they not completing six years of service from their absorption. The petitioners claimed the notification issued on Feb. 21, 2012 amending with retrospective effect from December 30, 2011 omitting the key clauses is illegal and arbitrary. They alleged the amendment was brought to benefit these three candidates.









Periphery encroachments: HC expands probe scope

Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri May 25 2012, 02:20 hrs

Expanding the scope of investigation of the case on illegal properties owned by high-ups, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today decided to include other cases pertaining to grabbing and encroachment on shamlat/ common land in other areas of Punjab. The development took place during the resumed hearing today of a PIL on properties owned by high-ups in the UT periphery. Today’s hearing was to decide the terms of reference of the investigation to be handed over to a Judicial Tribunal. The High Court observed that other cases can be clubbed together with this petition.

Senior lawyer M L Sarin had pointed out to the Bench on Wednesday that he was appointed an amicus curiae in a case pertaining shamlat/ common land grabbed by highs-up in Mohali and related areas. The Bench today observed that the cases, five in number, can be heard together to be decided whether they (case) should also go to the Judicial Tribunal to be headed by Justice (Retd) Kuldeep Singh of the Supreme Court.

The cases will now come up for hearing on May 28. On Wednesday the High Court had raised eyebrows over the change in entries of land from public to private, owned by 60 high-ups in the periphery of Chandigarh,. The High Court had questioned the “clean chit” given by the Punjab government to its “elite group” of 60 high-ups.

Rejecting the stout opposition of the Punjab government to handing over of the probe of the case to a judicial tribunal, the High Court had observed on Wednesday, “How do we expect that those who are to decide will decide against themselves?”

Refusing to believe that the investigation has been done by Punjab in a transparent manner, the Bench had made it clear that the probe would be conducted by a judicial tribunal headed by Justice (Retd) Kuldeep Singh, who will be assisted by a District and Sessions Judge (DSJ).


LEGAL NEWS 24.05.2012

Environment nod to NCC Sompeta nixed

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 8:00 IST
By KV Ramana | Place: Hyderabad | Agency: DNA

In a major jolt to the infrastructure major NCC Ltd, the National Green Tribunal has cancelled the environmental clearances granted to the company’s 2,640-mw thermal power project at Sompeta in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.

The company was planning to set up a coal-fired power project with an outlay of about Rs14,000 crore in two phases with each phase having a capacity to generate 1,320 mw.

However, the plans had hit a deadend with the villagers in Sompeta agitating against the unit and the state government attempting to handle the situation with iron fist.

The police action including several rounds of firing in July 2010 at Sompeta during the protests had resulted in the death of two villagers forcing the company to put the project on hold.

Though the clearances given to the project were put on hold immediately after the violence at Sompeta, the tribunal has now cancelled the clearances asking the company to go through a fresh round of public hearing for setting up of the project.
However, the company sources unperturbed with the development and claim that the project was already on hold and the plans to set up thermal unit have now been shifted to a different location at Krishnapatnam near Nellore.

Though saying that the project at Sompeta was on hold, the company sources said that they would attempt to comply with the regulations yet again and try to seek the clearances afresh.
As an alternate to the Sompeta project, NCC has been working on the power project at Krishnapatnam after taking over a 1,320 mw project from the Chennai-based Nelcast.

Another Hyderabad-based infrastructure firm, Gayatri, too, is participating in the project with about 45% stake. The project is yet to achieve financial closure.

Meanwhile, the environment groups vowing to ensure that the project never comes up at the agriculture lands in the area, which has a potential to affect another 25 neighbouring villages.

“There is a struggle committee formed in Sompeta against any thermal project proposed in the region. This committee will continue to oppose the project and if the government and the company force their way, we will think of a mechanism to counter it,” a source associated with an environment group said.










National Freen Tribunal cancels nod to Nagarjuna Construction Company’s Sompeta power project

HYDERABAD: The National Green Tribunal, under the aegis of ministry of environment and forests, on Wednesday cancelled the environmental clearances granted to the 2,640MW coal-fired power project of Nagarjuna Construction Company coming up at Sompeta in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. The Rs 14,000-crore thermal power project, to come up in two phases of 1,320MW each, has been hanging in fire for nearly two years following violent protests by locals against the project that led to three people getting killed in police firings in July 2010.

The Tribunal has now asked NCC, which is backed by the global private equity firm Blackstone Group LP and ace stock broker Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, to go in for fresh public hearings on the project for environmental clearances. The locals and environmentalists have been claiming that the project would harm the ecology and the livelihoods of people in some 30 villages nearby the project.

When contacted, the NCC senior VP (finance) YD Murthy said the latest development will not have any adverse impact on the company since the project works at Sompeta were suspended nearly two years ago.

“We have relocated the project to Krishnapatnam port near Nellore, and the project has already achieved financial closure. We plan to consider taking up the power project at Sompeta once we complete Krishnapatnam project,” he told ET.

Early last year, NCC bought 55% stake in a thermal power firm of the Chennai-based Nelcast, which was building a 1,320MW coal-fired project near Krishnapatnam. Gayatri Projects, another Hyderabad-based infrastructure firm, bought the remaining 45% in this project. NCC expects the project to take off by February 2015.







HC adjourns Marines bail plea to Monday

Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday adjourned the bail application of two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen in the Enrica Lexie case to Monday.

The court also asked the petitioners to implead the Central Government as party in the bail plea. Justice N K Balakrishnan passed the order while considering the bail plea of Chief Master Sergeant Massimilano Latorre and Sergeant Salvatore Girone.

The petitioners submitted that they were arrested on February 19 and have been under judicial custody for more than 90 days. The investigation was already completed and the chargesheet filed. So further detention of the accused is unjust, the petition pointed out. Kollam Sessions Court had denied bail and observed that if the marines, were released on bail and if they leave India, it would be hard to try them.

“The Republic of Italy is prepared to undertake before the HC to stand surety for the marines and to produce them as and when required by the court. There was no scope for disquiet that the marines will flee from justice or tamper with evidence, since an independent sovereign country is taking responsibility for implementation of any terms and conditions,” the petition said.











Hemraj misbehaved with Arushi, killed her when she resisted, Talwars tell court

Dipankar Ghose : Ghaziabad, Thu May 24 2012, 02:19 hrs

On the last day of framing of charges against them, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar told the Sessions court in Ghaziabad that their domestic help Hemraj and his friends had tried “misbehaving” with their daughter Arushi on the night of May 15, 2008.

“When she (Arushi) resisted, they killed her. Hemraj was then killed on the roof by someone else, possibly by one of his friends,” the counsel for Talwars told the court on Wednesday.

With the framing of charges in the case coming to an end, Special Judge Shyam Lal will now rule on the charges that the Talwars will face. They are accused of killing Arushi and Hemraj in May 2008. The CBI has demanded that the Talwars face trial under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 201(destruction of evidence) and 203 (giving false information).

Continuing their arguments from Tuesday, the counsel for Talwars produced in court a golf club, similar to what the CBI has claimed was the weapon used to strike Arushi and Hemraj. The counsel said the 8-cm wound on Arushi’s head could not possibly be caused by a golf club.

Against the CBI claim that there was no one else in the house, the counsel said: “The CBI has said neither Rajesh nor Nupur Talwar left the house after the murder. But the mobile phones of both Arushi and Hemraj were not found at home, but at far away locations. If the mobile phones could leave the house, then how is it beyond doubt that other individuals did not take them away?” the counsel asked.

The Talwars’ counsel also raised doubts over CBI allegation of destruction of evidence. “If, as the CBI claimed, they were able to dispose of the mobile phones, they could have also disposed of the body of Hemraj.”

In a 15-minute rebuttal, the counsel for the CBI said the golf club was “an exact match”. R K Saini, senior prosecutor for the CBI, told the court, “They could not dispose of the body that night as they did not have access to a car. ”









HC dismisses PIL against bypass at Padubidri

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation petition challenging construction of a by-pass road at Padubidri town on National Highway (NH) 66 instead of widening the existing highway passing through the town.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order on the petition filed by Shekar Hejamadi, who had challenged the government’s decision asking the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to build a by-pass for NH-66 instead of widening the existing road as part of widening of the NH between Kundapur-Surathkal stretch.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda had passed an order on January 25, 2012 asking the NHAI to a build a by-pass near Padubidri town as against the advice of the Udupi District Deputy Commissioner for widening the existing highway passing through the town for the reason that the cost of building a bypass would be costlier than process of widening. Both the suggestion of the deputy commissioner and the decision of the Chief Minister were one among the three suggestions made by the NHAI.

“There is no perversity in the said order as the Government had considered all the three suggestions,” the bench observed.

Government Counsel Ravindra G Kolle submitted that the cost of the construction would not be an issue as the project is undertaken by the NHAI through public-private-partnership mode.

The petitioners had claimed that construction of by-pass would increase the length of the road by three kms, require acquisition of 45 houses besides increasing the cost of construction. It was also pointed out by the petitioners that it was only at Padubidri a by-pass has been proposed but in all other towns on the NH the government allowed widening of the existing road.









High court tells government to announce support price for mangoes

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.46AM IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Wednesday asked the government to evolve a minimum support price (MSP ) mechanism for mangoon the lines of tomato to eliminate middlemen from enriching themselves at farmers’ cost. The division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen asked principal secretary, agriculture to be present in court on May 28.

“Why is the state not doing anything ? Why can’t you declare a base price for mangoes ? You’ve been giving support price for wheat and paddy. If you can do it for tomatoes, why not for mangoes?” the bench observed while adjourning the hearing .

The bench wondered why Hopcoms couldn’t procure it.

“It seems you (Hopcoms )have become a profit-making retailer. Sitting in A/C rooms in Bangalore, you (officials ) are doing nothing. You are not fulfilling your obligation,” the bench remarked as counsel for Hopcoms informed the court that it has a presence in only four districts surrounding Bangalore and can purchase only 6-8 tonnes of mango every day. In a PIL, the Kolar District Mango Growers and Farmers Association sought regulation of APMC markets in Srinivasapura , Chikkaballapur , Bangalore and Ramanagaram .










High court pulls up woman councillor for role in land deal

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.07AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has asked a woman councillor representing ward no. 41 in Chennai Corporation, not to interfere with the possession of a land at Tiruvalluvar Nagar in Korukkupet here.

A vacation bench comprising Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice B Rajendran gave the interim direction, on a public interest writ petition filed by the Tiruvalluvar Nagar Veettu Urimaiyalar Sangam (residents welfare association), on Wednesday.

In his petition, the sangam president P Chockalingam contended that the residents’ association was in possession of the land since 1998 to construct a community hall. In June last, the councillor removed the board by force in order to grab the land, the petition said. It further said that a complaint was lodged with the RK Nagar police, who had advised both parties to keep off the land. Nothing that the land was needed for a public purpose, the PIL wanted the court to restrain the councillor and others from interfering its possession by the residents’ association.









Caution public against no-parking zones: High court directs DGP

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.16AM IST

LUCKNOW: The high court on Wednesday directed UP DGP to ensure regular and continuous announcements to caution people against parking in no-parking zones like Hazratganj. The court also directed the police to act in accordance with law against those who park their vehicles in no-parking zones.

The court also sought state government’s reply on implementation of Chaubey Committee report. The matter will come up for next hearing in July first week. The order was passed by a bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice VK Dixit on a PIL filed by a former corporator Arun Kumar Tiwari.

The petitioner’s counsel BK Singh sought court’s interference in solving traffic problems in the city. He said Chaubey Committee has suggested ways to deal with the problem but the report is not being implemented.










SC directs AP govt to restore security to advocate

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 17:06

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ulled up the Andhra Pradesh government for withdrawing security to an advocate that was provided on it’s direction and asked it to restore the cover to him.
A bench of justices Deepak Verma and S J Mukhopadhyay said that the state’s Director General of Police would have to face contempt of court if he does not provide police protection to R Chandra Sekhar Reddy.
The police protection was provided by the apex court after Reddy had alleged that he was facing threat for filing a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the state government decision to release 1500 prisoners in 2007.
“How can you withdraw the police protection when it was done on the court’s order. The order passed in 2007 has not been modified by the court. You might have to face contempt,” the bench told the state government.

The court was hearing an interim application filed by Reddy in which he submitted that he continues to face threat to his life and that the security cover should be restored.
The petitioner said that he was forced to stay back at his house fearing danger to his family members. The withdrawl of the security has seriously affected his movement and his livelihood and was causing serious mental agony, he said.
The apex court had in August 2007 stayed the Andhra Pradesh government’s plans of releasing 1,500 prisoners, including life convicts, on the occasion of 150 years of the First War of Independence.
The court had passed the order on a PIL filed by Reddy questioning the large-scale release of prisoners, alleging that the government wanted to benefit a Congress worker Gowru Venkata Reddy, who was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment after being convicted in a murder case.









Install silent tracker in sonography machines: High court

TNN | May 24, 2012, 02.02AM IST

JAIPUR: In a significant step towards checking female feticide, the Rajasthan high court on Wednesday directed the state government to install the ‘silent tracker’ system in all sonography machines.

The system enables online monitoring of the sonography machines and, thus, helps the government authorities to detect cases of female feticide.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice NK Jain-I passed the interim order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an advocate SK Gupta. The government argued that it would require at least six months to install the system in all sonography machines across the state, but the bench allowed only four months to put the system in place.







No government effort to check mining mafia in Rajasthan, says high court

Abhinav Sharma, TNN | May 24, 2012, 02.08AM IST

JAIPUR: A division bench of Rajasthan high court has observed that the mining mafia is at its peak in the state and there is no effort to check them. The court made this remark while hearing a PIL filed by a Bharatpur-based advocate.

The petitioner, Battu Singh, has moved the court alleging that four politically powerful persons have been doing illegal mining in forest area in Bayan tehsil of Bharatpur. The case is being heard by Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice N K Jain (senior).

“The leases were actually allotted for four mining and stone crushing units 15 km away from the place where the crushers have been installed. The place where the mining is being done is a small hilly region falling in forests. We have produced before the court photographs showing that the crushers have been allotted 15 km away from the original sites and that too at the border of forest and the illegal mining is affecting the environment,” said Anil Mehta, counsel for petitioner.

“We have given out in our PIL that the illegal mining is being done at the behest of sarpanch of the local village where these crushers are situated as most of the persons operating these four illegal stone crushers are his relatives,” said Mehta.

The petitioner also told the court that as a counter measure to the PIL filed by him, an FIR was registered by the mining mafia alleging that the petitioner is involved in cultivating ‘drug plants’ used for producing contraband under NDPS Act. The arrest of the petitioner was stayed by a single judge recently.









Dont disturb land allotted for loo: HC

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A city councillor was directed by the Madras High Court not to interfere with the possession of a piece of land in Korukkupet, on which an abandoned public toilet stands, in any manner for two weeks.

Justices V Dhanapalan and B Rajendran granted the interim injunction on Wednesday on a public interest writ petition from Tiruvalluvar Nagar Veetu Urimaiyalar Sangam (house owners association), Korukkupet.

According to the association, represented by its president P Chockalingam, the public convenience was constructed by the Chennai Corporation. Five years later, integrated drainage system was introduced in the area and the PC was abandoned. The association applied to authorities to construct a community hall there.

Ward 41 councillor Sasirekha attempted to occupy the premises. The association wrote to the slum clearance board to allot the plot for public purposes, on May 9. Petitioner prayed the court to forbear the councillor from occupying the land.










Relief for Shiela Kaul in scam trial

TNN | May 24, 2012, 02.11AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court on Wednesday exempted 98-year-old former Union minister Shiela Kaul from appearing personally before it for framing of charges for her trial in a 1996 government accommodation allotment scam.

Special CBI Judge Pradeep Chaddah exempted Kaul from personal appearance for the day after her counsel submitted that she has moved the Delhi high court against the court’s order for her personal appearance for framing of charges.

An accused has to be personally present in the trial court during the proceedings in his or her case, specially on occasions like framing of charges.

Referring to the court’s earlier order that Kaul will have to come to the court as there is no immunity for aged people under law, Kaul’s counsel said the high court “might just make some law.”

The court then adjourned the matter till disposal of the petition before the high court. “I allow the application moved and exempt the presence of Sheila Kaul for Wednesday. Let the file come up for framing of charges on July 16. Depending upon the order of the high court, accused Sheila Kaul shall be appearing in person,” the court said.

The court had on May 9 asked Kaul to appear before it to answer the charges framed against her while denying her further relief from personal appearance on ground of old age. Kaul, the former Union urban development minister in P V Narasimha Rao’s cabinet, is accused of making out-of-turn allotment of government accommodation for making pecuniary gains.











High court defreezes Sakshi media group’s accounts

TNN | May 24, 2012, 03.08AM IST

HYDERABAD: Justice B Chandra Kumar of the AP high court on Wednesday directed the CBI to defreeze the Sakshi media group’s current accounts with SBI, IOB and OBC branches in the city. The CBI, as part of its investigation into the assets case pertaining to Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, froze the current accounts as well as Rs 102 crore in fixed deposits of the media group. However, in his order, the judge refused to allow defreezing of the fixed deposit account.

The judge made this order after hearing elaborate arguments against the freezing of the accounts by Sakshi counsels C Padmanabha Reddy and S Niranjan Reddy as well as those of the CBI opposing any such relief to the media group.

Justice Chandra Kumar said that he was ordering re-activation of the accounts to ensure that the normal operations of the media group were not affected on account of the freeze order. “This is because we cannot repair the damage later if it is unilaterally brought to a stand still now,” he observed. “Keeping in view the welfare of a large number of employees of the media group, according relief, at least, to the extent of the current accounts is essential,” he said.

The judge, however, imposed certain conditions on the Sakshi media group while defreezing the accounts. As per the conditions, the media group should provide a bank guarantee equivalent to the money that is lying in the current accounts and that all payments should be made through cheques. The judge also directed the management of the media group to furnish the details of the transactions made through these accounts to court once every month. He also passed an injunction against the management against alienating the property of the company.









Government to scrap Special Economic Zone Act

TNN | May 24, 2012, 04.54AM IST

KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government on Wednesday announced that it is scrapping the West Bengal SEZ Act 2003. The chief minister had already made it clear that she was against allowing SEZ (special economic zone) status to Infosys, this move has made her stand official.

State commerce and industries minister Partha Chatterjee on Wednesday said that the state government was keen to see Infosys setting up its campus in the state. However, reiterating Trinamool’s stand against SEZs, Chatterjee said: “I want Infosys to invest in Bengal. But our government has a stand on the basis of principles that we are against SEZ and the decision to scrap the SEZ Act was taken by the cabinet sub-committee on industries and infrastructure.” The state cabinet will take the final call.

Mamata had earlier stated that no exception will be made for Infosys by granting it an SEZ status. Chatterjee said that the industries sub-committee was going to give an alternative proposal to Infosys and hoped that there will be investment in the IT sector despite the official policy. Chatterjee is, in fact, holding talks with Infosys on their proposal.

Infosys has, however, made it clear that “in principle” it would be difficult for the company to set up a campus in Bengal without SEZ status. The Left Front government had allotted 50 acres of land to Infosys at the satellite township of Rajarhat for which IT major had reportedly paid Rs 75 crore.

The decision to scrap the SEZ Act was taken because neither does the state government have an SEZ policy and nor is the government in favour of abolishing provisions of the Urban Land Ceiling Act. Moreover, many companies enjoying tax holidays in the SEZ have wound up after the expiry of the tax holiday period. Chatterjee, who is also the IT minister, said that the state government is going to formulate its new IT policy within a fortnight. The state last had an IT policy in 2003.

The state’s draft IT policy, which is going to be tabled in the cabinet, will lay emphasis on the hardware sector. A team of experts will therefore be visiting Taiwan soon to get a first-hand idea of hardware institutes. The draft IT policy has suggested setting up of IT industries in Kolkata, Asansol, Kalyani and Siliguri.

The policy focuses more on tier-II and tier-III cities of the state in order to bring in desired growth in IT.

The draft policy, chalked out in consultation with NR Narayana Murthy and technocrat Sam Pitroda, has set a target to raise the state’s share (by value) in production of electronic goods in India from 3% at present to 15% by 2020. It also aims at making Bengal among the top three IT states by 2017. The draft was recast after it went to the IT committee members.

The policy will give more clear guidelines for the growth of IT software and hardware industries in the state. It will also emphasize on Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM). So far, the state has been lagging behind in this sector.

Asked about the state’s progress in the sector IT compared to bigger states in the country like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Nasscom regional manager (east) Suparno Moitra said: “IT growth has always been a city-based growth and not a state-based growth. Tier-II and tier-III cities are definitely cost competitive, but it is important that the infrastructure is in place.”

The focus areas would be high revenue generating sectors like financial services and banking, insurance, retail & distribution, engineering design and life sciences. A lot of employable human resource will be required.

Chatterjee also said that Indian Institute of Information Technology is coming up at Kalyani which will be jointly run by Coal India, Roalta, and JSW.








Tribunal stays suspension of former Bharatpur collector

TNN | May 24, 2012, 02.14AM IST

JAIPUR: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Wednesday stayed the government order to suspend the then Bharatpur collector Krishna Kunal for his alleged failure in preventing the communal violence at Gopalgarh on September 14, 2011.

Two days after the incident in which 10 people from the minority community were killed, Kunal was removed as Bharatpur collector and was stationed in Jaipur without any posting.

He was later suspended from the services on September 28, 2011. As the officer refuted the charges against him and challenged his suspension, the CAT has sought the government reply in the matter by issuing notices to the Union secretary of department of personnel, principal secretary of the state department of personnel and the state chief secretary. The matter would be heard again on June 13.

An old dispute over ownership of a public land near a mosque at Gopalgarh village near Bharatpur had escalated into a communal violence between the local Mev and the Gujjar communities on September 14, 2011.

To control the armed mob, the police had to then resort to firing. The violence resulted in the death of 10 people, all members of the minority Mev community, the state’s Ashok Gehlot government had come under criticism from the Muslim community in the bordering districts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The Gehlot government, however, blamed the incident on administrative lapses on the part of the Bharatpur collector Kunal and Superintendent of Police Hinglaj Dan, who, too, was shunted out and later suspended.






Gopalgarh violence: CAT stays suspension of babu

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 19:52

Jaipur: The Central Administrative Tribunal on Wednesday stayed the Rajasthan government’s order suspending IAS officer Krishna Kunal for allegedly failing to control last year’s clash between Gujjars and Meos in Gopalgarh town of Bharatpur district, which claimed 10 lives.

Kunal was Bharatpur district collector when he was suspended in the wake of the Gopalgarh violence, amid allegations that the administration had sided with the Gujjars.

The CAT’s order came on a plea by Kunal, a 2003-batch officer, challenging his suspension.

It was observed by the division bench of the tribunal that no inquiry was contemplated against Kunal, hence the suspension was inappropriate.

Ten people of the Meo community were killed in the September 14 clash in Gopalgarh town over a public land-related dispute.

The Meos had alleged that the police and district administration took the Gujjars’ side and ordered firing at them.

Kunal, along with the then SP, Hinglaj Dan, was suspended on September 28, 2011, for failing to control the situation in time.









Gen V K Singh sends notice to Lt Gen in line to be Army Chief

Express news service : New Delhi, Wed May 23 2012, 01:03 hrs

With barely a few days to go for his retirement, Army Chief General V K Singh has issued a show cause notice to Lt Gen Dalbir Singh, who is in line to head the Army in a few years.

In a departure from norms, the Army Chief has personally signed the notice to the Lt Gen for “unprofessional and lackadaisical manner” in handling an intelligence unit under his command, that allegedly carried out a botched-up operation.

This notice, which has also been sent to a Brigadier in the same Corps, can put Dalbir Singh’s appointment as Eastern Army Commander into question. While the officer, who is slated to take over as Chief after Gen Bikram Singh, had been cleared for appointment as Commander, the posting orders have not yet been issued.

The Army HQ can technically withhold his appointment as the show cause notice can be used to impose a discipline and vigilance ban on the officer. However, sources said that the officer has proceeded on leave and is yet to accept the notice, which demands a reply within 13 days.

A Brigadier who works under Lt Gen Dalbir Singh, who was also issued the notice, has taken a stay on the matter from the Armed Forces Tribunal. The same option is also open to Dalbir Singh.

The matter concerns a Court of Inquiry by the Eastern Command into an operation carried out by the 3 Corps Intelligence and Surveillance Unit in Jorhat in December during which alleged irregularities took place. The Army Chief’s notice said he had observed that the actions taken by Lt Gen Dalbir Singh as GOC were not adequate to deal with the situation.

This is the second time that Gen Singh has taken action against Dalbir Singh. Earlier he had recommended a CBI probe against him for alleged involvement in a procurement scam in the Cabinet Secretariat. However, this was turned down by the government after a clean chit by the Cabinet Secretariat.








HC notice to TN Govt on PIL agiainst Nityananda

PTI | 10:05 PM,May 23,2012

Chennai, May 23 (PTI) Madras High Court today ordered notice on a petition seeking a direction to Tamil Nadu Government to take action on a representation for removal of controversial godman Nityananda as head of an ancient Saivaite mutt in Madurai and urging its take over by the state. Issuing notice on the PIL petition by advocate R Krishnamurthy, a bench comprising Justices V Dhanapalan and B Rajendran posted it for further hearing on June 6 with a direction that it be tagged along with connected matters. Alleging that Nityananda was ‘unfit and incompetent’ to be the pontiff of the 1500-year old Madurai adheenam, the petitioner claimed the godman was controversial person with several allegations against him pertaining to sexual offences and cases were pending in courts. Krishnamurthy said on May 17, he had met the Joint Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment, and presented a memorandum to her seeking removal of Nithyananda, recently appointed successor of the present head of the mutt, and take over of the mutt by the government. There was a delay on the part of the official to take action and hence the present petition for a direction to the HR & CE Commissioner to consider and dispose of the representation, within a time frame, after giving him an opportunity of personal hearing, the petitioner said. The appointment of Nityananda as his junior by Arunagirinatha Gnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya has triggered protests from several quarters, including heads of different mutts in the state, in view of pending criminal charges, including rape, against him.










Attendance: HC relief for Pune engg student

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 10:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

In what came as a relief to an engineering student who was barred from appearing for his exams by the college because he did not meet the 75 percent attendance criteria during the semester, the Bombay High Court has directed the college to allow the student to answer the examination.

Ankush Pardeshi, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering (IT) degree from Vishwakarma Institute of Engineering, Pune, approached the court after the college and University barred him from appearing for the exams scheduled to be held in the end of this month. He claimed that an illness had prevented him from attending lectures.

The vacation bench, comprising of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice PD Kode, while allowing him partial relief, said that the college can hold back his results until the final hearing of plea before a regular bench.

Pardeshi’s attendance of 53 percent in the term did not meet the University norms of 75 percent. Appearing on behalf of the college, Advocate Ajey Gadkari argued that along with Pardeshi, 22 other students have been barred from appearing for the exams on the same grounds, and allowing Pardeshi would set a wrong precedent for the others who would also try and seek the same benefit.

However, the court clarified that the relief was only for the present case, and others, if they approached the court would be considered based on their merits. The court has now adjourned the hearing on the plea till June 18.










John seeks HC nod to renew passport

: Thu May 24 2012, 03:03 hrs

Actor John Abraham’s conviction in the 2006 rash driving case has now become a stumbling block for him to go abroad to shoot his upcoming film Race 2.

Abraham has moved the Bombay High Court seeking permission to renew his passport for a period of one year. According to him, the Regional Passport Office in Mumbai has refused to renew his passport, stating that he is on probation in the rash driving case.

The actor’s lawyer claims that the producers of the film will lose up to Rs 50 lakh per day if he cannot make it for the shooting in time in Turkey.

According to his petition, Abraham holds a passport which is valid till November. However, he will not be able to obtain a work visa according to Turkish regulations unless he renews his passport for a period of one year.

The actor contends that the HC, while granting him probation, did not place any restrictions on his travel abroad.

The court, in an order on May 6, had released him on probation on a bond of Rs 10,000. He, however, was held guilty of rash driving. The decision came after a sessions court held him guilty and sentenced him to imprisonment for 15 days.

The incident took place in October 2006 in Khar, when Abraham’s bike skidded and hit two persons, Shyam Kasbe and Tanmay Majhi. The actor took them to a nearby hospital, where they received treatment and were later discharged.

The case has now been kept for hearing on Thursday after the court asked him to give a notice to the Regional Passport Office.











Around Town: HC seeks govt reply on medical facilities in Tihar Jail

Express news service : Thu May 24 2012, 01:58 hrs

HC seeks govt reply on medical facilities in Tihar Jail

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the reply of the Delhi government and Tihar jail authorities on a petition asking for better medical facilities for inmates. The plea sought better medical facilities for the prisoners, alleging that several custodial deaths have occurred due to gross medical negligence in the jail. The petition was filed by advocate Jose Abraham, seeking direction to the government to provide adequate medical facilities to ailing inmates. The plea illustrated the death of a disabled undertrial Santosh Kumar in February and claimed he died due to lack of medical facilities.

South Mayor inspects parking lots

NEW DELHI: South corporation Mayor Savita Gupta and Municipal Commissioner Manish Gupta inspected parking sites at Defence Colony and Lajpat Nagar. During the inspection, the absence of fixed parameters for collecting parking fees was observed. “There was no board or banner informing people about presence of a parking lot. The number of cars in parking lots exceeded their capacity,” said the mayor. She asked the municipal commissioner to look into the matter and resolve parking woes in the area. Engineer-in-Chief Ravi Das was also present during the inspection.

Have right to confront witness: Sajjan to court

NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who is facing trial in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, on Wednesday told a Delhi court that he has the right to confront a key witness with evidence on record after the CBI took the stand that it was “not relying on contradicting statements” of the witness. The argument was over an affidavit and statement of a key witness and complainant Jagdish Kaur, recorded by various commissions set up to inquire into the riots. District Judge J R Aryan was told by the Congress leader’s counsel I U Khan that the accused has a right to cross-examine the witnesses with regard to evidence available on record.










HC to UT: Submit action taken report against Sacred Heart School

Express news service : Chandigarh, Thu May 24 2012, 02:15 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday asked the Chandigarh Administration to submit as to what action it has taken on the inquiry conducted against Sacred Heart School in the infamous Ruchika Girhotra molestation case. The report had indicted Sacred Heart School for expelling Ruchika at the behest of former Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) S P S Rathore.

A Bench headed by Justice S S Saron passed the directions. Counsel for UT Administration on Wednesday sought time to file the status report. The case will now come up for resumed hearing on July 18.

The Chandigarh Administration, on the previous hearing, had produced a photocopy of the report prepared some two years ago on Ruchika’s expulsion from Sacred Heart Covent School. The report, however, was returned and UT was given time to file a status report.

Meanwhile, addressing the court on the issue of Ratho’e’s promotions despite the allegations, CBI counsel Ajay Kaushik told the Bench that Rathore was exonerated by the Haryana government and for three years the Centre was not even informed about the developments. Kaushik also placed on record the investigation report prepared by former DGP Haryana R R Singh against Rathore.

The Bench also took exception to an affidavit filed by Ratho’e’s counsel and wife Abha Rathore. Petitioner Ranjan Lakhanpal too objected to the affidavit by saying that the issue of maintainability raised in the court on a previous date of hearing had not been addressed

The development took place during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by World Human Rights Protection Council through its chairman, advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal. Rathore had questioned the locus standi of the petitioner.

Lakhanpal had earlier sought directions for independent probe in the Ruchika case, right from the day she was allegedly molested till the final decision of the case.










Plea in HC urging govt to take over Madurai Adheenam

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.45AM IST

CHENNAI: A new public interest writ petition for the takeover of the Madurai Adheenam by the government ‘in the interest of Hindu religion, culture and discipline’ has been filed in the Madras high court.

A vacation bench of Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice B Rajendran, issued notice to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department and adjourned the PIL, filed by advocate R Krishnamurthy, to next month to be heard along with similar petitions pending before the court.

In his PIL, Krishnamurthy questioned the anointment of Nithyananda as the next head of the adheenam and said his character and conduct, mode of sermon, worship and blessings were all totally against the tenets of Hindu religion and Tamil culture. He said that Nithyananda’s anointment by the current head of the adheenam had hurt the religious sentiments of lakhs of devotees.

Krishnamurthy said the anointment and the subsequent events unfolding at the adheenam had created resentment and unrest among residents in Madurai and other places, and stated that he had submitted a representation to the HR&CE department seeking take over of the adheenam by the government, on May 17. He wanted the court to direct the government to consider his representatione and take over the control and administration of Madurai adheenam.











PTI | 04:05 PM,May 23,2012

In its petition, the Air India management said despite In its petition, the Air India management said despite the court’s restraint order, several opportunities were given to the striking pilots to resolve their issues but they failed to settle the matter. On May 9, the high court had restrained over 200 agitating pilots from continuing their “illegal strike”, reporting sick and staging demonstrations, a day after the airline management sacked 10 pilots and derecognised their union. The court had also said allowing such a strike to continue would cause irreparable loss to the company as well as huge inconvenience to the passengers travelling by the national carrier. The IPG had challenged the May 9 ex-parte order of the single judge holding the strike as illegal, saying it was done without any authority. A division bench of the court had, subsequently, dismissed their plea, saying the pilots could not “wilfully and flagrantly” disobey court orders to end their “illegal” strike and could face contempt action. The bench had, however, granted liberty to IPG to move before the single judge for modification of its previous order while turning down its plea that the high court had no jurisdiction to pass an ex-parte order as the union’s office as well as Air India’s headquarters were in Mumbai. The pilots, under the IPG banner, are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression. The IPG is protesting AI’s decision to train pilots of Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), a union of pilots of erstwhile domestic carrier Indian Airlines, for Dreamliner Boeing aircraft. Earlier, the AI management had filed an injunction suit terming the strike as illegal and had said due to the pilots’ stir, the company was compelled to cancel some of its international flights which had resulted in extreme hardship and also inconvenience to the passengers. Moreover, as a result of the cancellation of flights, Air India is facing financial loss of over Rs 10 crore per day, it had said.










Residents claim new HC building falls in Sukhna catchment

Express news service : Chandigarh, Thu May 24 2012, 01:39 hrs

If so, let it also be demolished, says HC

Having obtained a stay from the Supreme Court on the demolition of their buildings and constructions in the Sukhna catchment area, ordered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a group of aggrieved residents on Wednesday ‘requested’ the HC to demolish part of the HC building which they say falls in the catchment area.

Senior lawyer of the residents raised the issue and requested the division bench to take up the matter on ‘its administrative side’.

Reacting to this, the Bench responded “let it also be demolished”. The issue was raised during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding protection of Sukhna lake from deterioration.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh made it clear that any effort made by the Punjab government to not allow water in the Sukhna lake will be ‘repelled strongly’.

Challenging the catchment defined in a map by the Archaeological Survey of India, Punjab Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal said that Punjab had sought redefining of the catchment area. Aggarwal added that Sukhna is a man-made lake and that question of a catchment area does not arise.

Sanjay Kaushal, senior standing counsel for UT Administration, said that the objections raised by Punjab government stand rejected by the committee constituted to protect Sukhna lake.

Adjourning the case till July, the HC has sought a report on authorised and unauthorised construction till March 14, 2011, when building activity in the catchment area was prohibited.

Kansal village was never intended to serve as Sukhna’s catchment: Punjab

In an affidavit, filed by special secretary in the department of local government, Vinod Kumar Bhalla, has said: “The area of Kansal and Kaimbwala villages were never intended to serve as catchment area. Even if Kansal area is part of the natural catchment, it was never intended to be reserved as such at the time of formation of the lake”.

The affidavit reads: “The course of Kansal river was diverted. Had the plain area of Kansal and Kaimbwala village been intended to serve as catchment, there would have been no need to divert the river, which was flowing into and converging with Sukhna choe”.

Bhalla also questioned UT’s concerns. “The plain area of Kansal will only form a total of four per cent of the catchment area, out of which about 232 acres is in the form of vacant pockets at various locations.”

Bhalla added: “It is not understood as to why the entire focus of the UT is concentrated on less than two per cent area”.







HC relief for Nirmal Baba

TNN | May 24, 2012, 04.12AM IST

PATNA: A vacation bench of the Patna high court, presided by Justice Samarendra Pratap Singh, on Wednesday issued directive to the Araria police not to take any coercive step against spiritual guru Nirmal Baba till June 22 in a case of alleged cheating and forgery lodged by a person with Araria police.

The order was passed during hearing of a petition of Nirmal Baba seeking quashing of the order of chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Araria, issuing warrant of arrest against him. The Araria police had registered an FIR on the basis of the complaint of one Rakesh Kumar Singh, who had alleged that he was goaded by Nirmal Baba to pay Rs 1,000 in three instalments to improve his (complainant’s) financial status, but to no avail.

Nirmal Baba’s counsel V K Gulati and Prashant Sinha submitted that his anticipatory bail petition is slated for hearing before the court of district and sessions judge, Araria, on June 22. The vacation bench fixed the hearing of the case of Nirmal Baba on June 18 when the high court reopens after summer vacation.









HC allows 3 colleges to admit students to dental courses under management quota

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.43AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court, which had on April 27 restrained unaided institutions from admitting students for post-graduate dental courses without an entrance test, has modified its order and permitted three colleges to admit students under management quota.

A vacation bench comprising Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice B Rajendran, passing interim orders on the vacate stay petitions filed by three institutions, said on Wednesday that they could admit students for their share of seats this academic year. Making it clear that the admissions would be subject to the outcome of the main petitions, the bench also requested the final hearing of the matter in the last week of June 2012 itself.

On April 24, passing interim orders on a public interest writ petition filed by the Indian Dental Association, the high court had restrained all colleges from admitting students without following the merit list published by the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University which conducts entrance examination. The PIL, alleging largescale irregularities in admissions, wanted the university to be directed to monitor and supervise the admission process in these institutions.

Aggrieved, three institutions – KSR Institute of Dental Science and Research, Tiruchengode; Sri Mookambika Institute of Dental Sciences, Kanyakumari; and JKK Natarajah Dental College and Hospital, Komarapalayam – had sought to vacate the stay. Noting that they followed the Dental Council of India-stipulated regulations in admission process, they said the admissions were on the basis of an entrance examination conducted by the Tamil Nadu Private Dental Colleges Association. It is not proper to restrain these colleges from proceeding with the admission process, they said, adding that the interim order had virtually prevented them from proceeding further in the matter.

Acceding to their submissions, the judges modified the April 27 order, saying it had been causing hindrance to these institutions from proceeding further with their regular admission works.










HC issues contempt notices to pilots, IPG

Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 23, 2012

The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued contempt notices against 67 Air India pilots on strike, including top office-bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), for continued defiance of its repeated directions to end their agitation.

The Air India management had moved court seeking contempt proceedings after all efforts to persuade the pilots failed. Pilots and the IPG have to reply to the notices by July 13. If found guilty of contempt, the pilots face a jail term of maximum three months.

On May 9, the court first declared the strike illegal and asked pilots to resume work.

“I still feel better sense will prevail on pilots. Nobody seems to be concerned with the plight of the passengers. A public utility service cannot be held to ransom in this fashion,” justice Reva Khetrapal said.











Appear before CBI tomorrow, HC tells Jaganmohan Reddy

TNN | May 24, 2012, 12.17AM IST

HYDERABAD: A 24-hour suspense has set in over the possible arrest of YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy with the Andhra Pradesh high court making it clear on Wednesday that he should comply with the CBI directive and appear before the investigating agency on May 25 in the assets case. Further, justice B Chandra Kumar directed the CBI to ensure that apart from being fair in its approach, it should comply with Section 41 of the CrPC, which states that a police officer can arrest a person without an order from a magistrate and without a warrant.

In a day of swift developments, the CBI served notice on Jagan, who was campaigning for the bypolls in Guntur district, asking him to appear before the agency in the assets case on May 25. Sources said a CBI inspector went to the residence of a YSR Congress activist in Rentachintala in Guntur where Jagan stayed overnight, and served the notice around 6am on Wednesday. Jagan did not meet the inspector but accepted the notice and returned the acknowledgment through an aide.

A few hours later, Jagan’s counsel met the CBI authorities in Hyderabad and sought time till June 15 to respond to the CBI notice on the plea that the YSR Congress chief was pre-occupied with the bypolls. However, the CBI officials refused to entertain Jagan’s request following which he moved a motion in the high court seeking the same relief.

When the matter came up for hearing, Jagan’s counsel Susheel Kumar told justice Chandra Kumar that the timing of the CBI’s notice was irrational. “The CBI has been probing the matter for the last eight and half months and filed three chargesheets but not called my client even once. At this juncture, bypolls are being held for 18 assembly segments on June 12 and as party chief, it is his responsibility to campaign for his candidates,” Jagan’s counsel said, seeking exemption for Jagan from appearing before the CBI till June 15.

Opposing this, the CBI counsel told the court that the probe agency wants to confront Jagan on the Vanpic deal in the presence of industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and bureaucrat KV Brahmananda Reddy, both of whom are accused in the Jagan assets case and are in CBI custody right now. “Their custody will end on May 27 and, hence, we have summoned Jagan on May 25,” the CBI counsel said.

The judge upheld the CBI contention and refused to interfere in the ongoing investigation process. The CBI should comply with Section 41 of the CrPC, justice Chandra Kumar said. In response, S Sriram, another counsel for Jagan, expressed an apprehension before the court that the CBI may either retain his client or may resummon him, both of which will deprive him of his right to campaign in the bypolls. At this, the judge observed: “The CBI is bound to be fair in its approach. You may come back to us and move a house motion if you are aggrieved.”








HC: Bail for rape-accused sends a wrong message

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The High Court has refused to grant bail to an accused who had allegedly sexually abused a girl in Visakhapatnam district recently and has directed the lower court at Narsipatnam to conduct trial on day-to-day basis and to dispose of the case within three months.

It has, however, facilitated the petitioner (accused) to approach the High Court again for bail if the trial, for any reason, is not completed within the said period.

Justice B Chandra Kumar, while dismissing the criminal petition seeking bail for Kunche Thrimurthulu alias Abbu against whom offences punishable under sections of IPC were registered, has directed the police and the petitioner’s counsel to cooperate with the lower court in disposing of the case within three months.

“As seen from the allegations, it appears that the petitioner has spoiled the entire life of the victim and such kind of persons do not deserve any sympathy from the court. It is clear that if such persons are enlarged on bail, it will give a wrong signal to the society and there is every possibility of the petitioner threatening the victim or other persons acquainted with facts of the case and tampering with the evidence”, the judge said. As for the case details, the accused had made the girl to consume a cold drink laced with sedatives to make her unconscious.

Then he had sexually abused her, filmed it on video and started blackmailing her. When she was married off to another man, he told the groom about the past incident and sent him photos and CDs. Consequently, the victim’s husband deserted her. His counsel, while seeking bail for the accused, contended that his client had been in judicial custody since February 16 and that the local police had completed investigation and filed the charge sheet.

The judge said justice was to be dispensed not only to the accused but also to the victim. The victim must feel safe and secure when she appears before the court for giving evidence, he said.


LEGAL NEWS 23.05.2012

File reply by May 25: HC to UP govt

PTI | 10:05 PM,May 22,2012

Allahabad, May 22 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file its reply on a bunch of writ petitions challenging reservation of seats for upcoming local bodies polls in the state. The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising Justice Yatindra Singh and Justice Mohd Tahir. The Bench asked the state government to file its reply by May 25 and fixed May 28 as the next date of hearing. The petitions alleged that reservation of seats had not taken place in accordance with law.









Chief secy’s call for action ignored as indicted SP gets new posting

Prabhjit Singh, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 22, 2012

It’s been three weeks that Punjab’s chief secretary (CS) okayed punitive action against officials found guilty of setting up a fake Vigilance Bureau (VB) trap that led to excise and taxation officer (ET) Ranjit Singh’s suicide last year, but even directions from the head of the state’s bureaucracy have failed to have effect.

Despite CS Rakesh Singh’s April 30 orders – which came after the Punjab and Haryana high court issued notices to the government for reply to a writ petition filed by Ranjit’s widow Manjit Kaur – there has been no action against superintendent of police (SP) Amandeep Kaur or former additional excise and taxation commissioner (AETC) Harvinder Kaur Brar, who along with head constable Harminder Singh were indicted in the probe by IAS officer Mansavi Kumar and IPS officer Harpreet Singh Sidhu that found the trap fake.

ETO Ranjit, then posted in SAS Nagar, had committed suicide in April 2011 after he was falsely implicated.

The indicted SP has, in fact, got a new posting last week instead of facing any punitive action, 10 months after the probe report was submitted.

The probe report, submitted to the chief secretary in July 2011, had recommended that the SP and head constable be suspended and be charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act. It sought departmental action against the AETC, who was promoted as deputy excise and taxation commissioner two months after the indictment.

Acknowledging the fresh posting of SP Amandeep at an IRB battalion in Ludhiana, home secretary DS Bains told HT, “I cannot comment at this juncture. The matter is in court now.” Postings of SP-rank officers from the PPS cadre are done by the home department, which is under deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The SP had earlier been pulled out of the VB and repatriated to the Punjab Police headquarters in Chandigarh after HT reported the matter in a three-part series (‘Custodians of corruption’, February 16, 17 and 18).

The home secretary had on March 3 endorsed the report of the inquiry panel sending a two-page note to the chief secretary: “I am inclined to agree with the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee report in which it has been suggested that a case under the PC Act, 1988 be registered against Amandeep Kaur, reader head constable Harminder Singh, Vipan Kansal, Jatinder Pal Singh advocate and Vijay Ghai.” Kansal, Jatinder Pal and Ghai, the three men with whose connivance ETO Ranjit was framed, have also faced no action.

The chief secretary, who heads the vigilance department as it is under direct charge of the CM, agreed with Bains and the orders for action was forwarded by the vigilance department to the home secretary and the excise and taxation department.

Excise and taxation commissioner (ETC), A Venuprasad, remains tight-lipped on the recommended suspension of the then AETC Brar and departmental inquiry against her for “dereliction of duty and telling lies before the inquiry panel”. Asked if he followed the chief secretary’s orders, Venuprasad said, “I don’t remember.”

The state, however, still faces the matter in the high court that served notices to the home secretary, state DGP, the VB director and the indicted cops to file their replies by July 17 to the writ petition by the ETO’s widow.







Dara Singh encounter case: Court to frame charges against Rajendra Rathore on May 28

TNN | May 23, 2012, 01.07AM IST

JAIPUR: After hearing CBI’s counter arguments against the aggressive defence put up by the lawyers of legislator Rajendra Rathore in connection with Dara Singh encounter case, the court has reserved its decision on framing of charges against him on May 28. Rajendra Rathore was once again provided an opportunity to plead his innocence in the court on Tuesday. He spoke for almost 15 minutes before the defence rested its case. During the hearing, the CBI counsel claimed that the merit of evidence cannot be appreciated at this point of time against Rathore.

“The defence counsels are trying to discredit the prosecution witnesses which the court cannot take into consideration as per the Evidence Act at this point of the trial. Whether the evidence against Rathore holds merit or not will be decided after framing of charges,” said the CBI counsel.

Earlier, Rathore claimed that he was being framed as some of the prosecution witnesses are known criminals and their credibility is under question. The defence lawyers had also argued that some witnesses including Debuda and Telia were history-sheeters. They alleged that instead of handing over these history-sheeters to the local police, the CBI got their statement recorded under Section 164 of CrPC before a magistrate. The high court has also lambasted the agency last month for using criminals to build a case against Rathore. “I have been framed by the CBI. There was no material evidence against me in the chargesheet filed by the CBI,” said Rathore. The court heard arguments from both sides and reserved its verdict for May 28.

Rathore was produced in the court under heavy security. He had on Monday asked the court to permit him to put up his innocence plea during the hearing. After court’s permission, Rathore spoke for almost half-an-hour. It was for the third time on Tuesday that he spoke the court. He had pleaded innocence earlier also during hearing on the cognizance of chargesheet filed against him by the CBI.







Notice against ayurveda officials

TNN | May 23, 2012, 01.16AM IST

JAIPUR: The high court on Monday took suo motu cognizance of contempt against three senior officials of ayurveda department including the principal secretary, for harassing a workcharge employee posted at Jamwaramgarh in Jaipur since 1995 despite a court order to give him the status of a semi-permanent employee.

Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari passed the order on a writ petition filed by one Kailash Chand Sharma, who was appointed as Class IV employee in the government ayurveda dispensary, Jamwaramgarh and was initially paid Rs 75 only as wages. However, when he served a notice on the authorities for seeking minimum wages, he was terminated on May 25, 1995. He filed a petition in the labour court in 2000 which directed his reinstatement and the status of a semi-permanent workcharge employee.

The petitioner then sought regular payscale which was denied and ultimately in February 2005 the petitioner was reinstated in the service and that too by the orders passed by high court in a writ filed by him in 2000. It was alleged by the petitioner that despite his reinstatement, he was never paid regular salary, forcing him again to approach high court with a new petition in 2009 where again the court asked the ayurveda department to implement the order of labour court to grant him a semi-permanent employee status within one month.

Taking a serious note of the high handedness of the ayurveda department in flouting court orders, the court issued showcause notice to principal secretary, ayurveda department, director, ayurveda department and additional director ayurveda, as also district ayurveda officer-I Jaipur.









Civil judges aspirants allowed revaluation

CHENNAI: Over 15 candidates, who have moved the Madras High Court seeking revaluation of their answer scripts in the recently conducted Civil Judges (Junior Division) examination, were permitted by the court to approach the Registrar-General (RG) with representations. If there were valid grounds for revaluation, the same should be done, the court said.

Disposing of a batch of writ petitions, a specially-constituted division bench on Monday said the petitioners could make a representation to the High Court RG, following which certified copies of the answer scripts will be provided to them. Later, they could make representations. If there was any valid ground for revaluation, the same will be carried out.

In her writ petition, R Kiruthiga Devi submitted that she, belonging to Backward class community, enrolled herself as an advocate in March 2001. She was not selected for the viva voce because she secured only 31 marks in the Law Paper-1, which was four marks short of the minimum to qualify for the interview. She had written all the examinations well and was expecting higher marks in the subject. She had written the translation paper particularly well. Contrary to her expectations, she had been awarded only 37 marks in the paper. Still worse, in the Law Paper-I, she had obtained only 31 marks. She was confident of scoring good marks. She strongly believed that the mistake could have occurred while evaluating or totaling marks in the answer papers. She prayed the court for a direction for revaluation and re-totaling of the Law Paper-I and Translation Paper.









State challenges stay on Sakshi ad ban

HYDERABAD: The state government on Monday filed writ appeals in the High Court seeking vacation the stay of its order stopping ads to Jagan Mohan Reddy’s Sakshi TV and newspaper.

The two separate appeals — one relating to Sakshi TV owner Indira Television, and the other to Sakshi newspaper publisher Jagati Publications — are likely to be heard by the court bench on May 23.

The ad stop order (GO 2097, May 9, 2012) was stayed by vacation judge B Seshasayana Reddy on May 17. In its petitions, the government, represented by the principal secretary (GAD) and the commissioner of information and public relations, argued that the single judge ought not to have granted the interim direction ex parte. Besides, he ought to have noticed that the GO was issued in the public interest as the companies concerned are facing criminal charges.

The money that was invested in the companies was a quid pro quo device for benefits rendered to third parties. Government argued its order does not interfere with fundamental right of the companies.










Civil Aviation may be out of CCI ambit

Mahua Venkatesh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 22, 2012

The civil aviation sector could be out of the ambit of the Competition Commission of India, once the proposed Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), an independent regulatory authority for the sector, is put in place.
The CAA would have the final authority and powers on economic regulations and consumer protection, legal experts have said. This could mean that the anti-trust body would have limited powers to monitor the sector and protect consumer interests.

“It cannot happen automatically unless the separate jurisdictions are carved out,”  Ashok Chawla, chairperson, CCI told Hindustan Times. “Tariffs for any service are fixed by independent regulators even now.”

Legal experts say that though the proposal to set up the CAA is at a formative stage, it depends on the kind of teeth that the regulator is given.

“Vesting consumer related issues with CAA would go against the spirit and intent behind the formation of the CCI,” Manoj Kumar, legal expert and managing partner, Hammurabi and Solomon.

“Any exemption from the provisions of the Competition Act needs to be done only by the corporate affairs ministry. Different administrative ministries or departments of the Centre should not be allowed to exempt themselves from the applicability of the Competition Act or from the supervision of the CCI,” Kumar said.

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh had informed Rajya Sabha that the proposed CAA would have financial and administrative flexibility to meet functional requirements of an effective safety oversight system.

The CAA has been mooted to overcome the constraints faced by regulator DGCA (directorate general of civil aviation) in terms of recruitment and retention of technical manpower and inability to quickly address ongoing operational issues due to lack of adequate administrative and financial authority.

The banking industry, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Reserve Bank of India, is already out of the CCI ambit. There have been reports indicating that even the telecom industry, which is governed by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, could be moved out of the CCI radar.










BI rejects RTI activist’s plea

TNN May 23, 2012, 02.27AM IST

clamour for bringing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the purview of the proposed Lokpal to make the agency more transparent is getting louder, the investigation agency has recently refused to entertain a Right to Information (RTI) petition from a Hyderabad-based activist citing the blanket exemption to it from the RTI Act.

HYDERABAD: At a time when clamour for bringing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the purview of the proposed Lokpal to make the agency more transparent is getting louder, the investigation agency has recently refused to entertain a Right to Information (RTI) petition from a Hyderabad-based activist citing the blanket exemption to it from the RTI Act.

However, the activist challenged this decision since no agency, including CBI, can deny information on corruption.

CJ Karira, a city-based activist belonging to ‘’, lodged a complaint with the Chief Information Commission (CIC), New Delhi, stating that the CBI had refused to give information about corruption cases involving politicians, public servants and others during the last five years in violation of the RTI Act.

The activist claimed his RTI application to CBI, seeking information related to corruption, was not even opened by the agency and sent back marked ‘refused’.

“Then I wrote a letter to CBI director A P Singh informing him that his officers had refused to entertain his RTI application by not even opening the envelop. The information sought is about allegations of corruption, which the agency is supposed to share,” Karira said in his letter.

To his shock, the CBI director’s office gave a short and terse reply, “It is to inform you that notification number 1/3/2011- IT dated June 9, 2011 of Government of India, the RTI Act 2005 do not apply to CBI now”.

“My contention is based on section 24 of the RTI Act, which allows the central government to exempt an organisation from the purview of the Act. However, it should be noted that under the same section information sought about corruption and human rights violations cannot be denied by these exempted agencies,” the activist told TOI.

In his complaint to CIC, he also referred about the office memorandum of the Union ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions as proof which clearly stated, “This provision (i.e., exemption to any agency) does not exempt these organisations from the purview of the Act in respect of the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations”.

The activist also requested the CIC to inquire under 18(1)(f), since he suspects that the CBI had disbanded the structure of Central Public Information Officer, which is also against the guidelines of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).







CIC imposes maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 on its own official

TNN May 23, 2012, 04.43AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a rare order, the Central Information Commission has imposed the maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 applicable under the RTI Act on its official for delay in furnishing information to an applicant.

RTI applicant Rajeev Sharma had sought information related to work allocation in the transparency panel from its public information, but the information which should have been provided by June 30, 2011 was provided on April 13 this year.

In his defence, public information officer K L Das said the appellant’s file got mixed up in the process of receiving and keeping these records and it could not be traced despite efforts.

An error was made in not sending the information, Das said, adding that similar situation existed in some other cases too.

Taking strict view of the delay in providing the details, information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said, “No information or communication was sent to the appellant and the information was finally sent to him only on April 13, 2012. At the very least, the PIO should have informed the appellant that the relevant file was misplaced or untraceable. And either the file should have been located within reasonable time and the information provided or a police complaint should have been made for the loss of the said file.

“Since the delay in providing the information is over 100 days and no reasonable cause has been offered for the delay in providing the information, the commission under Section 20(1) of the RTI Act imposes the maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 on K L Das, public information officer and deputy secretary.”








CWC slammed for giving away rape victim’s child for adoption

PTI | 07:05 PM,May 22,2012

New Delhi, May 22 (PTI) The Child Welfare Committee’s act of giving away for adoption a girl child, born to a rape victim and given to it for safekeeping, without biological parents’ consent was gross violation of human rights, a Delhi court has held, observing that the rich and poor hold equal rights. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Kamini Lau said CWC’s decision to certify the child as free for adoption has deprived the minor of love, affection and company of her biological parents and also the father’s right to rear his daughter in the manner she deserves. “….thereby depriving the father of the love of his own child and inflicting the pain of separation and deprivation on both the child and the parent which is not only a breach of statutory law but is an act of gross human rights violation,” the court said. The court’s observations came on rape convict Bhola’s plea for custody of his child born out of his illicit relation with his minor victim. Bhola was held guilty by the court of raping a 14-year-old girl after “purchasing” her for Rs 20,000 in 2007 and confining her to his house for over three years during which he subjected her to slavery, torture and rape, leading to the birth of the girl child. Bhola had sought custody of his child as her unwed mother, now 19, did not want to keep her. While dealing with the plea, the ASJ came to know that the child was given away in adoption by the CWC. Taking note of several irregularities and illegalities done by CWC, the court said that such incidents were happening frequently which was hampering trial in many cases. “The poor in our country have as much right as do the rich and there cannot be two set of laws governing these two set of citizens i.e. one for the rich and another for the poor,” ASJ Lau said. The court said that it lacks jurisdiction to deal with the custody plea and directed that Bhola’s applications along with other records of CWC be placed before District Judge O P Gupta tomorrow for hearing. (MORE)







Aarushi case: Order on charges on Thursday

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 13:40

New Delhi: The arguments on the framing of charges against Rajesh and Nupur Talwar in the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case concluded on Wednesday.

Special CBI judge S Lal reserved his order, which will be pronounced on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the lawyers of Talwars produced a golf club in court.

As per the CBI, the injuries found on Aarushi were caused by a golf club found in the Talwars’ home.

The couple’s lawyers today produced a similar golf club in court to prove that the investigators’ allegations are incorrect.

The arguments had begun on Tuesday. This was after the court had on Monday adjourned the case for a day after the Talwar’s counsel had sought 15 days to study the documents submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

On May 16, the court had deferred the hearing till Monday to allow the CBI to provide documents to Aarushi’s parents.

The sessions court started the trial on May 11, almost four years after the crime.

Also on May 16, the Supreme Court had reserved its verdict on Nupur Talwar’s petition seeking review of its Jan 6 order directing her and Rajesh Talwar to stand trial for the murder of Aarushi and the family’s domestic help, Hemraj.

An apex court bench of Justice AK Patnaik and Justice JS Khehar had reserved the verdict on the conclusion of arguments by senior counsel Pinaki Misra, appearing for Nupur Talwar.

Misra assailed a Ghaziabad magistrate court’s order that rejected the closure report filed by the CBI in the double murder and took cognizance of the charge against the Talwars.

The CBI filed its closure report in December 2010 before the magistrate’s court in Ghaziabad.

The Talwars are facing charges of murder, conspiracy and destruction of evidence.

Aarushi, 14, was found murdered at her parents’ Noida residence on May 16, 2008. Hemraj’s body was found the next day on the terrace of the house.









Steps on Supreme Court Haj subsidy order after getting judgment: S M Krishna

PTI May 22, 2012, 01.27PM IST

NEW DELHI: The government will decide steps to be taken by it on the Supreme Court order to end Haj subsidy after receiving the judgment of the apex court on the issue, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said today.

In its verdict on May 8, the Supreme Court had directed the government to phase out Haj subsidy within a period of 10 years, saying that this amount can be more profitably used for social and educational development of the Muslim community.

“They have given us an interim order. We are awaiting the final order of the Supreme Court. Once we get that, then we will decide that what will be our next step,” Krishna said when asked if the Government was planning to file an appeal against the apex court order.

He was talking to reporters on the sidelines of an All Indian Haj Committee function.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai had quoted Quran to justify doing away with the subsidy, which was around Rs 685 crores in 2011, noting that many Muslims would not be very “comfortable” to know that their Haj is funded to a large extent by the government.

A number of prominent Muslim leaders had welcomed the court’s order, saying that the subsidy was not exactly benefitting the community and the funds given in subsidy should be allocated for improving the educational and living standards.

Addressing the gathering, the External Affairs Minister said that he has been informed by the Haj Committee chairperson Mohsina Kidwai that the pilgrimage last year had passed off smoothly and was well organised.

“I would like to alert all the officers dealing with Haj 2012 not to let their guard down and remain alert and ahead of the plans and programmes for Haj 2012. Haj is such a complex and tedious operation that we can ill-afford complacency at any point in time,” he said.










CWC erred by giving up child for adoption without consent of father in jail: Court

Deepu Sebastian Edmond : New Delhi, Wed May 23 2012, 00:11 hrs

A sessions court in the Rohini district courts complex has slammed the “irresponsible hasty decision” of the Child Welfare Committee in giving away an infant for adoption without the consent of one of the parents.

The decision comes in a complex case where the mother gave away the baby to the CWC, only for the father — who has been convicted of statutory rape as he lived with her while she was a minor — to approach the court invoking his right as a natural guardian.

Even as she admitted in her May 17 order that her court lacked jurisdiction to decide on the CWC’s decision to give away an infant without its biological father’s permission, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said the adoption may not stand legal scrutiny.

“I ask myself a question, can a body exercising judicial powers afford to take away from the parents (disabled on account of poverty) their child without their consent and give it to the rich (financially able) by taking the excuse of welfare of the child. If no, then I assume that the order of the Child Welfare Committee and the manner in which the child Baby ‘J’ has been pushed into adoption without the consent of the biological father, would not stand,” the judge wrote in her 42-page order.

Judge Lau then went on to order that the relevant files be moved to the court of the District & Additional Sessions Judge (West), which decided the adoption.

The case dates back to December 2007 when a 15-year-old Mukundpur girl eloped with a youth who panicked and abandoned her within hours in Okhla. The confused girl got into a bus, which took her to Srinivaspuri and then 18 years old Bhola. According to the court, she was a god-sent for Bhola, a native of Mathura, “where on account of skewed sex ratio it is difficult for young men to find a bride even for a price.”

On the advice of his relatives, Bhola tried to marry her, only for a court in Bharatpur to reject the application based on an ossification report, which indicated that she was a minor.

Bhola took her took to his family in Modinpur village where they stayed together till March 2010. The baby, referred to in the court order as ‘J’ throughout, was born in a government hospital. “During the trial, the prosecutrix had denied that she was married to the convict Bhola and according to her, he had kept her without the marriage but admitted her union with the accused Bhola who had fathered the child Baby ‘J’,” noted the court order.

After obtaining a mobile phone one day, she called her parents who took her away from Bhola. She surrendered her baby before the CWC on April 15, 2010. She told the CWC that, “her parents are ready and willing to take the prosecutrix back but not the child Baby ‘J’ who, according to them, was not welcome.”

Bhola was in judicial custody by then, along with the man with whom she had eloped in December 2007. Both were charged with Section 363 of the Indian Penal Code for taking a minor away from the custody of her guardians without their consent, while the former was also charged with rape, IPC 376. Bhola was sentenced to two years’ rigorous imprisonment by Judge Lau’s court.

After his conviction, Bhola moved an application seeking the custody of his child. He knew that the mother had surrendered the infant to the CWC, but was unaware that the agency had already completed the adoption process.

Judge Lau pointed out what the CWC did was wrong: “….instead of the biological father and his family being traced and informed about his child, the child Baby ‘J’ on the basis of this unilateral surrender deed filed by the prosecutrix ‘P’ and her parents, is first sent to foster care and thereafter declared free for adoption by showing it as ‘abandoned/ destitute’.”

“Great injustice has been done with Bhola, the biological father and natural guardian of Baby ‘J’ and I shudder to think of the consequences and the storm which is arising in the life of Baby ‘J’ just because of this one irresponsible hasty decision,” noted the court, which thanked the Amicus Curiae and the counsel of the Delhi Commission for Women in the order.











High court directive to Sakshi TV management

TNN May 23, 2012, 02.17AM IST

HYDERABAD: Justice B Chandra Kumar of the high court on Tuesday asked the management of Sakshi to specify by Wednesday as to how much money it needed to run its show. The judge made this query while hearing Sakshi’s plea for defreezing its accounts in SBI, OBC and IOB branches in the city.

The CBI froze the accounts as part of its investigation into the Jagan assets case. The judge wondered whether the action of the probe agency would adversely affect the employees of the media group and felt that a solution was needed to be worked out to protect the interests of both parties.

Referring to the contents of the FIR in the case, the CBI counsel told the court that the entire Rs 1,172 crore investments in Jagathi Publications, the parent company of Sakshi media group, were in fact proceeds of fraudulent activities and, hence, they froze the bank accounts. A lot of the tainted money was already siphoned off and there was an immediate need to protect the remaining amount, he said.

Jagathi counsel C Padmanabha Reddy said that while his client was charged with Rs 74-crore irregularity, they froze Rs 110 crore money in the accounts. He gave an assurance that his client would not liquidate the fixed deposits but sought a relief to run the current accounts needed for day-to-day operations.











Supreme Court stays demolition of structures

TNN | May 23, 2012, 05.50AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the demolition of any structure constructed in the catchment area and forest zone of Sukhna Lake.

The apex court directed the authorities “not to demolish any structure made till May 21, 2012, in the said area”. The bench, however, made it clear that no further construction should be made and if any structure is raised after May 21, the high court would be at liberty to proceed.

A division bench comprising Justice Deepak Verma and Justice Sudhanshu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya passed these orders while hearing a bunch of petitions filed by one Kumar Retailers and other residents of Kansal area seeking stay on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court.

On May 15, Punjab and Haryana high court had ordered the states of Punjab and Haryana, as well as the UT administration “to put their enforcement agencies in action and construction activities going on in the catchment area as per the map of the Survey of India should be immediately stopped; and any construction raised in violation of the directions issued by the court be demolished without issuing any notice”.







Haryana’s demand for separate high court reaches Parliament

Yogesh Kumar, TNN | May 23, 2012, 05.59AM IST

GURGAON: Demanding a separate high court for Haryana, a Member of Parliament has introduced a private bill in Rajya Sabha. The bill will come up for discussion in the ongoing session.

In the bill (High Court of Haryana, 2012), the MP has reasoned that under Section 214 of the Constitution, it is compulsory that there should be a separate High Court for each state.

“For long, Haryana has been denied its right to have a separate high court. It’s high time that the state now gets its legitimate right which will benefit all the litigants,” said SL Batra, member of Rajya Sabha from Haryana.

The proposed bill states that Haryana was carved out of erstwhile Punjab on a ratio of 40:60 while Chandigarh was made a union territory. “The legislative assembly seats were also divided on the same pattern. On the similar lines, the Punjab and Haryana high court premises can be separated,” said Batra.

The bill also states that Chandigarh is the most suitable location for the principal seat of the high court of Haryana. Batra suggests that the other benches of the Haryana high court can be established in some other cities to expand reach of the judiciary.

The bill states that all the proceedings pertaining to the territorial jurisdiction of Haryana pending in the Punjab and Haryana high court should be transferred to the new high court.

Batra has also suggested that the expenditure of salaries and allowances of the judges of the high court of Haryana shall be borne by the state government. After being discussed in Rajya Sabha, the bill will be tabled in Lok Sabha.









Court denies bail to tainted LNJP doctors

Upasana Mukherjee, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 23, 2012

A city court has dismissed the bail plea of two doctors arrested for their alleged involvement in a medical equipment supply scam.
Special judge BR Kedia dismissed the bail applications of Dr VK Ramteke and Dr Manmohan Singh Chopra “keeping in mind the seriousness of the allegation and gravity of offence”.

Dr Ramteke is director-professor and head of the department (Surgery) at the city’s LNJP Hospital while Dr Chopra is a retired medical superintendent of the same hospital.

The duo is accused of purchasing medical products at a higher rate than the market price in connivance with some medicine and equipment suppliers, causing heavy financial loss to the government exchequer.

The Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of Delhi Police arrested the duo on May 15 and charged them under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The prosecution had contended that the case was at the stage of investigation and the estimated financial loss to the government might be of several crores of rupees. Some of the items were priced exorbitantly and were never supplied allegedly due to disputes between the hospital officials and suppliers on sharing of illegal margin.








HC issues notice to Maurya

TNN May 22, 2012, 10.14PM IST

ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the Allahabad high court on Tuesday issued notice to leader of opposition Swami Prasad Maurya and asked him to appear in the court on charges that he is absconding in a criminal case.

The order was passed by a division bench of Justice Amar Saran and Justice H S Yadav on a PIL filed by Prafulla Kumar of Pratapgarh district.

According to the PIL, an FIR against Maurya had been registered at Dalmau PS in Rai Bareli district on June 30,1987, by Ram Surat Upadhyay.

The allegation in the FIR was that Maurya had made an attempt to murder. It has been alleged that notice in this criminal case has not been served upon him and he is absconding in the case.

The court will hear this case in the first week of July.

HC seeks government reply on quota in local body polls

A division bench of the Allahabad high court on Tuesday asked the state government to file its reply by May 25 and fixed May 28 for next hearing on a bunch of writ petitions challenging reservation of seats in respect of local bodies election.

The bench of Justice Yatindra Singh and Justice Mohd Tahir passed this order on the bunch of writ petitions challenging reservation in local body elections.The plea of the petitioners in the court was that reservation was not made properly in accordance with law.

The high court has directed to hear this case on May 28, 2012.







Ban on Nirmal Baba’s shows: High court seeks reply

TNN | May 23, 2012, 05.01AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday sought a reply from the Centre on the PIL seeking ban on broadcast of Nirmaljeet Singh Narula alias Nirmal Baba’s programme on different TV channels.The matter will come for next hearing on July 16.

A notice was issued by a division bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice VK Dixit after hearing a PIL filed by a local lawyer K Saran, who alleged that the programmes of Nirmal Baba violate the norms laid down in Cable TV Network (Regulation) Act 1995 and Rules.

These rules prohibit telecast of any programmes, which amounts to befooling people facing various problems in life through improbable solutions and promotes superstition.Last week on the direction of a local court, Lucknow police registered a case of fraud and cheating against Nirmal Baba. tnn









Deceased HC judge’s wife also breathes her last

PTI | 07:05 PM,May 22,2012

Bangalore, May 22 (PTI) The wife of Additional Judge of Karnataka High Court, Justice K Govindarajulu who recently died in a road accident in Ananthpur district of Andhra Pradesh, succumbed to injuries in a hospital here today. Rajalakshmi, who was seriously injured in the May 19 accident “succumbed to injuries in Narayana Hrudayalaya Multi-Speciality hospital today”, hospital sources said. Their son Nikhil is being treated at a private hospital. Apart from Justice Govindarajulu, four others, including three of his family members were injured when the car in which they were travelling overturned near Odulapalli village under Talupula police station limits in Anantapur district. PTI BH MSR APR HKS








Karnataka HC judges wife succumbs

Express News Service

BANGALORE : Rajalakshmi, 48, wife of Justice K Govindarajulu, Additional Judge ofKarnataka High Court, who was injured in an accident recently, succumbed to injuries at a private hospital on Tuesday.

Govindarajulu, his wife, and their two sons were going to a relative’s house in Proddatur in Kadapa, to attend a family function when their car met with an accident near Odulapalli in Talupula Mandal in Andhra Pradesh on May 19.

Govindarajalu had succumbed while shifting to a hospital, and Rajalakshmi, was battling for life at Sparsh Hospital in the city, where she succumbed in the wee hours of Tuesday.








CWG scam: HC grants bail two accused in street-lighting scam

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 19:43 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Delhi High Court has granted bail to entrepreneurs JP Singh and TP Singh, arrested for their alleged roles in a corruption case involving award of a contract to their firm for upgrading Delhi’s street lighting before the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Justice Mukta Gupta granted bail to the promoters of Delhi-based Sweka Powerteck Engineers Pvt Ltd on a personal bond of Rs five lakh each along with two sureties of same amount.

Singhs along with MCD Superintendent Engineer DK Sugan, Executive Engineer OP Mahala, Accountant Raju V and civic body’s tender clerk Gurcharan Singh have been accused of causing a loss of nearly Rs1.43 crore to the exchequers in illegal award of the contract to the firm.

Justice Gupta granted them bail accepting Singhs’ counsel Sidharth Luthra and Pramod Dubey argument that the accused have been in the judicial custody for more than a year and all the material witnesses have been examined in the case.

The trial court on March 12 had framed charges against Singhs and other accused for criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.










For a musician, training under guru trumps formal degree: HC

A Subramani, TNN | May 23, 2012, 06.53AM IST

CHENNAI: A formal academic qualification or proven excellence inherited through tutelage? Which is the most desirable criterion for an instrumentalist to be appointed the official nagaswaram vidhwan of a temple under government control?

When this question came up for consideration before a division bench of the Madras high court, the judges felt that an academic degree/certificate cannot be rated above excellence passed on by distinguished artistes.

“A person’s performance, who has not gone to college but has taken a training from a vidhwan will be so vibrant and different to hear than a person who merely passed out from the college with a degree of nagaswaram without sufficient training from a leading musician,” observed the bench comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice B Rajendran. The bench, however, made it clear that courts would not normally interfere with the selection made by a committee of experts well-versed in the subject.

The matter relates to the government’s efforts to appoint a nagaswaram vidhwan to the famous Arulmigu Kallazhagar Thirukoil at Azhagarcoil in Madurai district. When the job notification was issued in July 2004 with a condition that the candidate must possess a certificate or degree from a government institution, M Sankaranarayanan applied for the post.

The notification was, however, cancelled and a fresh one issued in December 2004 with a condition that candidates must have a certificate to prove that he had undergone training in nagaswaram. A committee then selected a woman, R Chandrakala as the vidhwan. Following this, Sankaranarayanan approached the HC, which cancelled the appointment. The present appeals were preferred by Chandrakala and the administrative officer of the temple.

The officer, explaining the reason for the cancellation of the first notification, said that people who had proficiency in nagaswaram due to hereditary knowledge or personal training may not have a degree on the matter. Concurring with the submissions, the judges pointed out that the selection had been made by experts. Upholding the appointment of Chandrakala, they further said the court would not normally interfere with the selection process made by experts.












Briefly Nation: Justice Majmudar back in Gujarat HC

Press Trust of India , Express news service : Wed May 23 2012, 00:50 hrs

Justice Majmudar back in Gujarat HC

AHMEDABAD: Justice P B Majmudar, who was transferred from the Gujarat High Court in 2007 under controversial circumstances following a squabble with the then HC judge, Justice B J Shethna, has been transferred back to the High Court. He was administered the oath of office by acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya at a function Tuesday morning.

Smoking: Shah Rukh gets court summons

MUMBAI: A Jaipur court has summoned actor and co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders Shah Rukh Khan for smoking in public during an IPL match at the Sawai Man Singh stadium on April 8. Khan has to be present in court on May 26. The court has issued the summons based on a private complaint as smoking in public is prohibited under the Rajasthan Prohibition of Smoking Act, 2000.

Algerian caught with live cartridge gets RI

CHHATTARPUR: A citizen of Algeria who was recently caught at the Khajuraho airport with a live cartridge was sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment by a local court on Tuesday. Nehar Raiban had arrived at Khajuraho to visit the world famous temples. While leaving the city, he was caught by security guards at the airport with a live cartridge in his belongings.

Two English men go missing in Tamil Nadu

MANDYA: Two British nationals who set out on a boat ride from Muthathi forest range in the district on May 19 have been reported missing since May 20, a police official said on Tuesday. “Two British nationals Mike Eastern, 60, and Ian Turton, 45, set out on a boat ride in the Cauvery from Muthathi forest range on May 19 to Anchatti in Dharmapuri in Tamil Nadu. They were reported missing since the next day,” SP Koushalendra Kumar said.

Bihar school principal beaten to death

PATNA: A day after a primary school principal was beaten to death in Munger for refusing to pay levy, another primary school principal was beaten to death in Samastipur on Tuesday over a land dispute. The police said the incident took place when principal of primary school, Patauli, was going to school from his Balirampur village at around 7 am. The police have registered an FIR but no arrest has been made.

Site users parties to suit, says Facebook

NEW DELHI: Facebook’s lawyers told a Delhi court Tuesday that users own the content they post and that the website is only an intermediary. Facebook Inc was responding in writing to a complaint filed by a Mufti Aijaz Arshad Quasmi, accusing it of hosting allegedly objectionable content. It said the users of the website are the “necessary parties” to the suit as they post content on the site and as such the suit is not maintainable for non-joining of “necessary parties”.

Bus falls into Ganga, 26 pilgrims killed

At least 26 pilgrims from Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh were on Tuesday killed and 16 injured when a bus carrying them fell into the Ganga at Kodiyala near Byasi in Tehri District, the police said.

The mishap occurred Tuesday afternoon when the private tourist bus, carrying 45 passengers, was going to Rishikesh from Badrinath and fell into the river while trying to overtake a truck, said Tehri SP Janmejaya Khanduri. While 21 people died on the spot, five succumbed to their injuries on way to hospital, he said.

All the bodies have been fished out, the SP said. The condition of four of the injured was stated to be critical, Khanduri said.

‘I-T, ED will audit IAC, Bedi trust accounts’

The police on Tuesday told a Delhi court that they have written to the Income-Tax authorities and the ED to audit the accounts of India Against Corruption, which is associated with Anna Hazare’s movement. The Delhi Police said this in a status report on its probe into a case against Kiran Bedi for allegedly misappropriating funds donated to a trust run by her.

The police have sought details from the HRD Ministry about complaints filed against Navjyoti Community College, Jahangirpuri, a part of Navjyoti India Foundation run by Bedi. I-T has been asked to audit the accounts of Public Cause Research Foundation, to which Bedi and other Team Anna members allegedly diverted donations received by the IAC for illegal tax benefits.









HC raps Punjab, Haryana govts

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 22, 2012

In a step towards safeguarding children’s rights, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to constitute commissions in this regard and submit their compliance reports.
The directions came from the division bench comprising acting chief justice MM Kumar and justice Alok Singh on a bunch of petitions seeking directions for constitution of such commissions.

The Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 was framed to provide for the setting up of national and state commissions to safeguard child rights. The Act also ordered setting up of children’s courts to provide for speedy trial of offences against children or of violation of child rights.

During the hearing of the case on Monday, the Chandigarh administration apprised the high court that as it already had a juvenile justice board, it had sought exemption from the Centre to create the commission.

On this, the bench made it clear that the Act made it mandatory for the states as well as the union territories to constitute the commission and no exemption could be sought. In case of Haryana, the bench observed that though the state government had in 2010 given a clearance for the constitution of two children’s courts, no status report had been filed regarding its constitution till date.

However, answering the Punjab government counsel’s request for time to file their reply, the division bench made it clear that if the state failed to file a detailed report on the next date of hearing, then its principal secretary of the department of social security and women and child development would remain present for explanation.

The case is listed for hearing on May 28. 








HC relief for Ramjas official

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 23, 2012

The Delhi High Court has set aside an inquiry report on the basis of which a vice-principal of Ramjas College was removed fire years ago, following charges of sexual harassment by some male students. A division bench of Justices BD Ahmed and VK Jain directed the inquiry committee to prepare a fresh report after allowing the accused to cross examine the witnesses in six months.

The court allowed the former vice-principal’s plea that the inquiry procedure under the Delhi University Ordinance was violative of Article 14 of the Constitution, as he was not allowed to cross examine the witnesses who had deposed against him.











HC stays order allowing Nooriya to go abroad

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 22:19

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday stayed an order passed by the sessions court permitting beautician Nooriya Haveliwala, who is accused of mowing down two persons including a constable, to travel abroad for a month.

Nooriya, who is facing trial for culpable homicide and under the NDPS Act for consumption of narcotics, was allowed to travel to US and Dubai for a month. Nooriya was to leave India on May 16.

However, the state government had approached the High Court challenging the lower court’s order on the ground that Nooriya, who is a US-born Indian national, would abscond if allowed to leave the country.

Additional public prosecutor Poornima Kantharia informed the court that the order was obtained from the sessions court, without giving notice to the investigating agency.

Neither the investigating agency nor the Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) was asked to file its reply to Haveliwala’s application to travel abroad.

Vacation judge P D Kode today stayed the order of the sessions court and posted the matter for further hearing on June 19.

On January 30, 2010, Nooriya rammed her SUV into a police check post at Marine Lines in south Mumbai killing a traffic policeman and a motorcyclist. She later tested positive for alcohol and drugs.









Guj HC asks man to file police complaint against SP for custody torture

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Wed May 23 2012, 04:35 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday directed a resident of Jamnagar district to lodge a criminal complaint against district superintendent of police, Subhash Trivedi, and two other policemen for the custodial torture he was allegedly subjected to by the three in August last year.

According to the plea filed by Vishal Singala in the HC, Trivedi, along with police inspector A P Jadeja and sub-inspector G N Vaghela, had severely beaten him up in custody after he was arrested under the provisions of the Prohibition Act in August last.

After being released, Singala lodged a court complaint against the three policemen and the magisterial court ordered an inquiry. However, not happy with the slow pace of the inquiry, Singala had approached HC.

According to Singala’s lawyer Gayatri Jadeja, a single-judge bench of HC comprising Justice Anant Dave heard the matter at length on Tuesday and directed Singala to lodge a criminal complaint against the policemen.









Italian marines move HC for bail

PTI | 08:05 PM,May 22,2012

Kochi, May 22 (PTI) Two Italian Marines, arrested for allegedly shooting to death two Indian fishermen off Kerala waters on February 15, today moved the Kerala High Court for bail. The Marines, Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone, contended they have not committed any offence as alleged by police and there was no justification in their remaining in custody. Justice M K Balakrishnan, before whom the matter came up, directed the petitioners to implead the central government in the case and posted it to May 25. They have moved the High Court after a Kollam court on May 19 rejected their bail applications observing that releasing them at this juncture might affect the conduct of the case which is set to enter the trial stage. The naval guards onboard Italian oil tanker ‘Enrica Lexie’ were arrested on February 19 and charged with murder of fishermen Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki who took to sea from Neendakara in Kollam. The accused were in police custody for the first 14 days and remanded to judicial custody since March 5. Police had last week filed the chargesheet against the marines in the Kollam court charging them with murder and also invoking the International Maritime Law.











Judge shifted after spat with peer back at HC

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Wed May 23 2012, 03:57 hrs

Justice P B Majmudar, who was transferred from the Gujarat High Court (HC) in 2007 in controversial circumstances following an alleged squabble with the then HC judge, Justice B J Shethna, has been transferred back to the HC.

He was administered the oath of office by the acting Chief Justice of the HC, Bhaskar Bhattacharya, at a function held at the HC building on Tuesday morning.

Registrar General of the HC G R Udhwani said Justice Majmudar’s oath ceremony was organised at HC’s Committee Room No. 1 which was attended by several senior HC lawyers apart from Law Minister Dilip Sanghani, Minister of State (Law) Pradeepsinh Jadeja and Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil.

In January 2007, Justice Majmudar got engaged in an ugly confrontation with the then HC judge, Justice Shethna, when the former alleged the latter of misbehaving with his wife and then threatening him to beat. Justice Majmudar did not lodge a police complaint but, had written a letter in this regard to the then Chief Justice of the HC to put things in “black & white”.

Following the episode, both Justices Shethna and Majmudar were transferred out of the HC. Justice Shethna was transferred to the Sikkim High Court and Justice Majmudar was transferred to the Rajasthan High Court. Justice Shethna did not resume his judicial duty in Sikkim and chose to resign. Justice Majmudar resumed his duty in Rajasthan and was subsequently transferred to the Bombay High Court. He is due to retire on September 9 this year.









HC raps Mumbai varsity for ‘insensitivity’ towards students

Mumbai, May 22, 2012

The Bombay high court on Tuesday came down heavily on the University of Mumbai and its Unfair Means Inquiry Committee (UMIC) for its “insensitivity” towards students, whose answer sheets were lost in an alleged theft case in June 2011.
A vacation bench of Justices SJ Kathawala and PD Kode has directed the university to file a detailed affidavit explaining its tardy efforts in the matter.

The bench has directed its order to be forwarded to the Vice Chancellor and also the Governor of Mumbai, who is the Chancellor of Universities, to take note of insensitivity shown on the part of the University as well as the UMIC.

The court was hearing a petition filed by three engineering students, whose results were withheld by University for May 2011 examination for Electronics & Computer Programming as “Reserved Copy Case” (RCC).

Amruta Patil and Virendra Neve, advocates for the petitioners, have sought quashing of a verbal order of University not allowing the students to appear for the examination this year.

Chandrakanta Gongane, advocate for the University, informed the court that a peon Ramsingh Girasingh, was caught with some papers of students inside the university premises on June 22, 2011 and was handed over to police.

Answer paper of one subject of petitioners was also found with the peon. Hence results were not declared as scheduled in August 2011, said Gongane.

The University had appointed UMIC to look into the matter only in September 2011.

However, till date, the committee has not even called students to appear before them to give explanation on the charges against them.

Irked by this, the judges said that the students have a right to be heard by the inquiry committee. “A right that they have been deprived of till date and also entitled to an expeditious decision by the University, to enable them to decide the future course of action of their career.”

The court has further observed that the University as well as its Unfair Means Inquiry Committee are completely insensitive to the problems faced by these petitioners.

The court has directed the university to file an affidavit in June.











HC directs CBI to probe acid attack on girls in Haryana

Ajay Sura, TNN | May 23, 2012, 05.09AM IST

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday, directed CBI to probe an acid attack on three girls in Rohtak. The court order came as a blow to Haryana cops, who have been accused of hushing up the case. The incident took place in June last year.

The court set a six-month deadline to CBI to complete the probe and directed the agency to also investigate allegations of police exonerating the culprits. The Haryana government was also asked to pay compensation to the victims by May 31.

It’s perhaps the first time when an acid attack case has been handed over to CBI. The petition was filed by Haryana State Legal Service Authority on behalf of the victims.

On June 18 last year, three minors suffered burns when two youth threw acid on their face. Two of the victims were Class X students while the third studied in Class XII. The girls were returning from tuition when they were attacked. An FIR was lodged by Rohtak police for attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy.

One of the victims had identified an attacker, but police chose to bury the charges. Unable to fight their case, the victims approached the state legal services authority, which moved the high court.










Bombay HC raps MU for answer sheet theft

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 8:30 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Bombay high court rapped Mumbai University (MU) as well its Unfair Means Inquiry Committee (UMIC) for being “insensitive towards its students” while dealing with a case of alleged theft involving answer sheets of engineering students last year.

Thevacation bench of justices SJ Kathawala and PD Kode was hearing the plea of three engineering students whose results of the Electronics Computer Programming paper, held as part of their May 2011 examination, were withheld after MU termed theirs a “Reserved Copy Case” (RCC).

According to Chandrakanta Gongane, advocate for the university, the answer sheet of one of the petitioners was found on peon Ramsingh Girasingh, who was allegedly caught along with other answer sheets from inside the MU premises on June 22, 2011. While Girasingh was handed over to police, MU appointed a UMIC to look into the matter. However, this was done only in September 2011, a delay which deputy registrar (examination) Datta Gughe (also present in court), was not able to explain.

What shocked the court most was the fact that till date, the panel has not called the students to appear before them and explain the charges levelled against them. When MU justified the delay by saying the confiscated papers were still with the police, an irked bench said, “The students not only have the right to be heard by the inquiry panel — a right that they have been deprived of till date, but are also entitled to an expeditious decision by the MU, so that they can decide the future course of their career.”

While observing “complete insensitivity on part of MU as well as the UMIC to the problems of the petitioners”, the HC bench directed the varsity to file a detailed affidavit stating its reasons for referring the matter to the UMIC in September and why the said committee has not taken any steps in the matter. Also, it asked MU to explain why no steps were taken till April 2012 to get the certified copies of the answer sheets from the BKC police, which is probing the theft.

While the petitioners’ advocates, Amruta Patil and Virendra Neve,sought the quashing of MU’s verbal order of not allowing the three to appear for the examination this year, the bench directed the university to produce their results in a sealed cover.










HC orders probe into pay drawn by teachers on paper

Express news service : Allahabad, Wed May 23 2012, 04:58 hrs

Chief secy given a month’s time to finish probe

The Allahabad High Court today directed UP Chief Secretary Javed Usmani to get an inquiry conducted across the state into the allegations that salaries were being withdrawn illegally in the name of non-existent or unqualified teachers in many government-aided intermediate colleges.

The court has given Usmani a month’s time to complete the exercise.

The court also directed the top official to get FIRs registered against those found guilty and the illegal payments made to unqualified teachers or withdrawn in the name of non-existent teachers be recovered from the personnel concerned. The court warned that if the action taken was not found satisfactory then the CS will be required to explain the same. The court has fixed July 9 as the next date of hearing.

The order was passed by a single judge bench of Justice Arun Tandon on a petition filed by Sudhakar Pandey, an advocate. “The petition was initially filed in 2010 and was in connection with a few intermediate colleges in Ballia, where the management and principals of the colleges, were allegedly involved in drawing salaries in the name of teachers using fraudulent means. We had sought strict action against the guilty,” said Pandey.

During the hearing, the court had ordered an inquiry by the CB-CID and directed registration of FIRs against those found guilty. However, over a period of time, a dispute arose on whether any formal order had been passed for inquiry by the CB-CID.

Taking a strong note of the “confusion”, the court passed an order on March 17, 2011, stating: “Let the Chief Secretary examine the records as well as the orders passed by this court from time to time and to ensure that free and fair investigation is conducted in the matter.The Chief Secretary shall file his personal affidavit disclosing as to whether an enquiry by CB-CID has been initiated or not and why the Home Department has not been able to respond even after 10 months to the request made.”

“The court took note of the fact that even after that order, not much action has been taken by the departments concerned in over a year,” said Pandey.











HC pulls up UT over mobile towers deadline

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed May 23 2012, 04:23 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday reprimanded the Chandigarh Administration for extending the deadline for removing the mobile towers from residential areas from May 18 to June 1 on its own.

A division bench took the Chandigarh Administration to task for extending the deadline without even taking prior permission from the court. On the last date of hearing, the administration had told the High Court that it had given a deadline to companies to remove the 180 mobile towers from residential areas. The administration had undertaken that if by May 18 the towers were not removed, the UT would remove them on its own.

However, the administration had later extended the deadline to June 1. This was questioned by the High Court on Tuesday during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking removal of mobile towers from residential areas.

Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel Limited on Tuesday moved the High Court seeking modification of the High Court orders whereby it had ordered removal of mobile towers from residential areas.

The company submitted that as per the Central government’s notification, the deadline to implement the same is September this year. In its application, the company has stated that “UT Administration and municipal authorities are not expert bodies for assessment of EMF norms laid down by the Department of Telecommunications and taking action for non-compliance thereof. The assessment of emission norms is a highly technical matter, especially when there are multiple operators present at a site. In such a scenario, non-compliance of emission norms by one operator may lead to demolition of entire site when other operators are in compliance of the norms. Demolition of a site as a whole even presuming non-compliance by one of the mobile operators would lead to irreparable and irreversible loss and damage of very large amount to the infrastructure providers who have nothing to do with the compliance of norms”.

The HC directed the Central government to clarify its guidelines for Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh by May 30. Also, the trio have been directed to submit their action taken reports by May 30.

20 unauthorised security tents removed: MC

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government on Tuesday informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that out of the 23 unauthorised security tents pitched by VVIPs outside their residences in Mohali, 20 had been removed by the authorities. This was submitted by the Mohali Municipal Corporation during the resumed hearing of a PIL seeking removal of unauthorised security tents pitched outside the residences of VVIPs in Mohali.


LEGAL NEWS 22.05.2012

SC allows devotees to enter Kalighat temple sanctum sanctorum

TNN | May 22, 2012, 02.33AM IST

NEW DELHI: Devotees can once again enter the sanctum sanctorum of Kolkata’s Kalighat temple, one of the 51 famous Adi Shakti Peeths in the country.

The Supreme Court on Monday lifted the month-long stay granted by Calcutta high court which prevented devotees from entering the 200-year-old Kalighat temple’s sanctum sanctorum. The HC had banned entry of devotees into the innermost portion of the temple housing the deity on the grounds of cleanliness, security and preventing visitors from being fleeced by touts.

The HC on April 20 had barred entry into the sanctum sanctorum of everyone except two priests appointed by the temple committee after a PIL alleged malpractices and expressed concern over the temple’s cleanliness.

On the appeal filed by Kalighat Temple Association, a bench of Justices Deepak Verma and S J Mukhopadhaya said the administration could take care of the PIL petitioner’s concern that cheats and touts were fleecing devotees.

The bench said, “Cheats can be taken care of by the police. The high court cannot act or alter the scheme framed and approved by the Supreme Court (regarding entry into sanctum sanctorum). If it was a Shiva temple in south India, we would understand as there only ‘darshan’ is allowed. But in north and east India, devotees are allowed to touch the feet of the deity and offer puja.”

The PIL petitioner argued that the ban was only to facilitate a hassle-free visit to the sanctum sanctorum for devotees. But the bench wanted to know whether similar arrangements and restrictions were in place in other important temples in West Bengal.

When the PIL petitioner’s counsel replied in the affirmative, Justice Mukhopadhaya countered, “Two days ago, there was a photograph in the newspapers showing a VIP offering puja in the sanctum sanctorum of Dakshineshwar temple.”

Though the bench stayed the HC order relating to restriction on entry of devotees to the innermost part of the temple, it clarified that the HC’s directions to ensure cleanliness of the temple would have to be implemented.








Cheating case: Court asks police to give notice before arrest

Express news service : Chandigarh, Tue May 22 2012, 01:39 hrs

Hearing the bail plea of two accused in a cheating case, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge S S Sahani on Monday directed the UT Police to give a three-day notice to the accused before arresting them.

The accused, Seema Khutten and Renu, have been blamed by Sector 37-based chartered accountant Rajesh Jindal for cheating him.

A few days back, Jindal had filed a complaint with the Chandigarh Police alleging that he had given Rs 1.30 crore to former Congress councillor Arshad Khan for investment, but when he did not get the returns, he reportedly contacted Khan, who told him that his money would be given to him by Khutten.

Khutten reportedly gave three cheques for Rs 5 lakh each to Jindal which were later dishonoured by the bank. After this, the complainant approached the police. The case is currently under investigation and an FIR is yet to be registered. However, the two accused had filed a bail application in court in this matter.

Last week, the police had raided the houses of Khutten, who has been named as one of the accused in another cheating case along with Arshad Khan. They had allegedly cheated a British national Patricia Craig of Rs 71 lakh. The police party had later given a four-day notice to her to join the investigations. The notice was handed over to Seema’s mother at her house in Sector 24.








Cheating case: Court issues warrant against 91-year-old

Pranav Kulkarni : Pune, Tue May 22 2012, 02:25 hrs

The Pune Cantonment Court has issued a bailable warrant against 91-year-old Sosama Ulhanan, a resident of Cliffdale, Kadri hills in Mangalore in a case of alleged cheating. The warrant was issued as Sosama did not appear before the court even once during the course of trial.

The case dates back to the late 90s when an agreement was drawn between Taramati Pathak, a Pune citizen, and Vellukatil Ulhanan Seemon and his family members. According to Pathak, Vellukatil induced Pathak to donate large sums towards construction of an orphanage and school. When the project did not take off, he promised that the money would be returned to Pathak by December 1998. “The accused used my money for personal gain. They had made an arrangement, acknowledging the money taken from me. They also agreed to give irrevocable power of attorney to me with regard to rubber plantations which are in the name of Sosama and Molly Seemon, besides other properties in the names of various family members,” said Pathak.

Not only did a Rs 1.14 crore cheque issued by the accused bounce, the family also sold all the properties including the rubber estates between 2008 and 2010 despite power of attorney being with Pathak. Process was issued against Vellukatil Seemon, Molly and Sosama under section 204 of the CrPC in February 2011.

While Vellukatil Seemon and Molly appeared before the court in person Sosama did not, with her family citing health reasons. The additional sessions judge, Pune, on 30, 2011 ordered, “The complainant in fact made a proper case for issuing process against the petitioners. Their old age, as contended before us, is irrelevent.”

The warrant was subsequently issued by the Judicial Magistrate (First Class) on May 9. “The warrant was issued by the court in order to compel the accused to appear before the court,” said advocate S Bhojwani, Pathak’s counsel.

“Being one of the four accused, she should have appeared before the court after the court issued summons. However, she never did so. Her family members have been citing her poor health and old age as the reasons. There is no provision in CrPC where you can carry on with the trial without her appearance,” said Bhojwani.

“We will get to know about whether the local police station in Mangalore has executed the warrant or not only after the local police station files the report. As of now, we do not have any clue about the developments post the warrant,” he said.









Court acquits 12 in Topchachi picket police attack

Last Updated: Monday, May 21, 2012, 14:18

Dhanbad: The Dhanbad District and Sessions court here on Monday acquitted all 12 accused in the 2001 attack on the Topchachi picket police in which Maoists had butchered 14 police personnel and looted weapons.

The district and session judge RN Mishra while delivering the verdict on the incident 11 years ago, absolved all 12 accused for lack of evidences.

Altogether 141 Maoists had been made accused in the case in which police had arrested 12 persons. Fourteen policemen were killed and five injured during a Maoist attack on a police picket in Topchachi block office campus around 40 km away from the district headquarters during the day on October 31, 2001.

The Maoists also looted 18 SLR, 3 sten guns, 2 nine MM pistol, 936 cartridges, 865 cartridges of sten gun and one dragon light.











Legal tangles hold up trial of 12 ‘Maoists’

Kanchan Chakraborty : Kolkata, Tue May 22 2012, 03:47 hrs

The trial of 12 alleged Maoists who were arrested from Kolkata between 2009 and 2010 has not yet begun because of several legal proceedings pending in court.

Ten of the 12 arrested people have already been declared political prisoners by the criminal court.

The other two — Gour Chakraborty, spokesperson of the CPI (Maoist), and Venkateshwar Reddy alias Telegu Deepak — have also urged the Calcutta High Court to declare them political prisoners. Their cases are pending and the trial was stayed by the high court.

The CID arrested Telegu Deepak, allegedly a hardcore Maoist, on March 2, 2010, from Sarsuna in Kolkata and UAPA was applied against him. The police implicated Deepak in several criminal cases in West Midnapore, East Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. Deepak is said to be studying Sanskrit and the Vedas in jail and appealed to the Calcutta High Court for political prisoner status last year when his trial was under way. The Calcutta High Court extended the stay of the trial in March this year. The petition for political prisoner is pending in the high court.

The CID arrested Madhusudhan Mondal, Siddhartha Mondal, Sachin Ghosal, Sanjay Mondal and Radheshyam Das from South 24 Parganas on June 29, 2010, under UAPA for their alleged involvement with the Maoists. It was alleged that they were operating in Nandigram in 2007. The additional sessions court in Alipore framed charges against the five and declared them political prisoners last year.

Kolkata Police arrested five more alleged Maoists — Sudip Chongdar, Barun Sur, Akhil Ghosh, Bimal Mallick, Kalpana Maity — from Maidan in Kolkata on December 4, 2010. Since then, charges have not been framed by the sessions court though the charge-sheet was filed in due time. Last year, the court declared them political prisoners.

The judicial review committee set up for the release of political prisoners has recommend the release to the alleged Maoists.





Talwars seek more time, Aarushi trial to take place today

TNN | May 22, 2012, 02.55AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court in Ghaziabad deferred till Tuesday arguments for framing of charges against dentist couple Nupur Talwar and Rajesh Talwar after they pleaded lack of preparation.

Special CBI judge S Lal gave them one day and fixed the hearing for Tuesday, even as the couple sought 15 days’ time to examine the documents. The judge also warned the couple that if they do not come prepared on Tuesday, the court will go ahead with the framing of charges without hearing them.

Filing a petition before special CBI judge Shyam Lal, the couple’s counsel had contended that the investigating agency had handed over 6,000 pages of documents to them only a day before.

The counsel for Rajesh Talwar submitted that it was his first appearance before the court and he had not been able to go through the papers. He claimed the papers submitted by CBI were deficient. In view of this, the defence needed at least 15 days to prepare itself, he submitted. Nupur’s lawyer, Vijay Pal Singh Rathi, said CBI had not provided the relevant documents. It was also submitted that the review petition filed in the case is pending before the Supreme Court.

The CBI, however, opposed the defence’s plea for more time. The court had on May 16 fixed Monday as the day for beginning the arguments after rejecting the accused’s plea for a month’s time to study the prosecution documents. The judge had rejected Talwars’ plea saying the SC had ordered speedy trial.

While Rajesh Talwar is out on bail, Nupur has been in judicial custody since April 30, when she surrendered before a Ghaziabad court on a direction by the apex court.








Candidates told to petition High Court for revaluation

The Madras High Court has ordered over 15 candidates, who have filed writ petitions seeking revaluation of their answer scripts in the recently-conducted Civil Judges (Junior Division) examination, to approach it with representations containing their plea. If there is any valid ground for revaluation, the exercise will be undertaken.

Disposing of a batch of writ petitions, a specially-constituted Division Bench said that the petitioners could make a representation before the High Court following which certified copies of the answer scripts would be provided to them. Later, they could make the representations.

Nearly 460 candidates had qualified for viva voce, to be held on May 28, for filling 185 vacancies of Civil Judge (Junior Division.)

The written examinations were conducted on March 24 and 25. As a one-time measure, the selection process was conducted by the Madras High Court, instead of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission. Of the 10,400 candidates who had applied for the posts, 8,895 were issued hall tickets. Nearly 6702 candidates appeared for the examinations.

In a writ petition, R. Kiruthiga Devi of Anna Nagar East submitted that she enrolled as an advocate in March 2001. She belonged to the Backward Classes. She was not selected for the viva voce because she secured only 31 marks in Law Paper-1, which was four marks short of the minimum to qualify for the interview.

She had written all the examinations well and was expecting higher marks in the subjects.

She had written the translation paper excellently well. Contrary to her expectations, she was awarded only 37 marks in the paper. Still worse, in Law Paper I she had obtained only 31 marks. She was confident of scoring good marks.

She strongly believed that the mistake could have occurred while valuating or totalling the answer paper. She prayed the court for a direction for revaluation and re-totalling of Law Paper-I and the translation paper.








Ad hoc service term can’t be counted for seniority: High court

TNN | May 22, 2012, 04.24AM IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court on Monday ruled that services rendered by employees on an ad hoc basis prior to their regularisation can not be counted for the purposes of their seniority. Instead, their seniority shall be counted from the date of their ‘substantive’ appointment. It also held that the date of substantive appointment is the date of their regularisation on their posts.

The ruling was given by Justice Sabhajeet Yadav on three connected writ petitions filed by clerks working in the district court, Allahabad. The petitioner, Ashok Kumar Pandey, and 13 others had filed writ petitions in the high court and challenged the order passed by the district judge, Allahabad, on July 13, 2001. The district judge, by the impugned order, had declared the respondents (clerks) working in the district judgeship, Allahabad, as senior to the petitioners. The petitioners had challenged this order in the high court on various grounds.

The question for consideration before the court was whether ad hoc service rendered by the petitioners shall be computed for determination of their seniority or their seniority shall be computed from the date of their regularisation in service.

The petitioners were initially appointed on ad hoc basis from October 1, 1986 to May 24, 1989 on different dates and they had continued in service till their regularisation on August 5, 1993. The respondents (clerks) whose seniority was challenged by the petitioners, were appointed as clerks in different district courts on regular basis other than Judgeship of Allahabad. They were transferred and posted in the district court, Allahabad, on different dates from October 14, 1992 to May 21, 1993. All the respondents (clerks) were working on regular basis in the district courts prior to the regularisation of the petitioners.

Determining the disputes of inter-seniority of the petitioners and other respondents (clerks), the court turned down the plea of the petitioners that they were entitled for regularisation on completion of their three years continuous service on ad hoc basis and date of order of regularisation was a mere formality.

The HC said, “This argument was wholly erroneous and misconceived, therefore can not be accepted. In my view from close analysis of UP Regularisation of Ad-hoc Appointments Rules 1979, there is nothing to indicate that in case any delay is caused in considering the case of regularisation of ad hoc appointee, the appointee will either stand automatically regularised on completion of three years of continuous service or after such regularisation, his regular appointment shall relate back to the date of his initial appointment,” maintained the judge.

The court dismissed the writ petitions of the petitioners, saying that there was no fault in the order passed by the district judge on July 13, 2001. The district judge, Allahabad, is directed to give effect to the order, which was impugned by the petitioners and also directed to pass other consequential orders. The court allowed the writ petition, filed by the respondents (clerks).








Tribunal to hear Unlawful Activities Prevention Act cases on May 26

TNN | May 22, 2012, 05.52AM IST

KOLKATA: In order to speed up the trials of accused under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), a tribunal headed by Justice V K Shali will be hearing the cases at Bedi Bhavan on May 26.

There are about 125 pending cases under UAPA in Bengal. The tribunal will be hearing UAPA cases of Bengal and Bihar. The court will record evidences and cross examine witnesses.

However, doubts are there among the lawyers if the court can solve much of the cases at one sitting. Kaushik Sinha, lawyer of Chhattradhar Mahato – who is in jail under UAPA – said that he was not aware of any tribunal going to hear UAPA cases in the city. He said that in order to appear before the tribunal, he needs the consent of Mahato. “Moreover, it will take some time to procure the records from the lower court to be produced before the tribunal,” Sinha said.

A notification states that all those who are interested in giving evidences may file their affidavits to the registrar of the UAPA tribunal and should be present in person before the tribunal for their cross examination.

Former prosecution director, Taj Muhammad, said that if the chargesheet had been filed in the court, then the lawyers need to supply its copy to the tribunal. Moreover, all records should be there in the court and notices should be given to the witnesses as well as the accused. “All these will take some time and very few people can engage lawyers to appeal to the tribunal within such a short span of time,” added Muhammad.






Voluntary disclosure under RTI Act non-starter

Ashok Pradhan | May 21, 2012, 11.07PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Seven years after the Right to Information (RTI) Act was implemented in 2005, several state government departments are yet to make voluntary disclosure under various sub-sections of Section 4 (1) of the Act.

The Odisha Information Commission (OIC) in January last year had asked the chief secretary to develop a suitable mechanism in each department for pro-active and timely disclosure of proposed programmes, plans and policies as well as proposed amendments to the existing laws and fresh legislation under Section 4 (1)(c). The sub-section requires that every public authority should publish circumstances which are taken into account while formulating policies and taking decisions that would affect the public.

Chief information commissioner Taran Kanti Mishra had said in his order that this should be a continuous process and there should be visible beginning within 30 days. The chief secretary was supposed to submit a compliance report to the commission.

“More than a year after the commission order, the government is yet to make such disclosures, critical to ensure transparency and accountability in the functioning of the public authorities,” said Biswajit Mohanty acting on whose petition the OIC had passed the January 2011 order. “The commission is conspicuous by its silence on the issue,” he added.

After the order, chief secretary BK Patnaik had convened a meeting of various departments last year. However, the government is yet to submit any affidavit of compliance before the commission.

The government has asked various departments to take expeditious steps, a senior government officer said.

The chief information commissioner, when contacted, declined to comment. Commission sources, however, said the CIC has again posted the matter for hearing in June when the chief secretary will be asked to explain what action the government had taken.

Though the CIC can ask the secretary to take steps to ensure the Section, there is no precedence in India of any commission imposing fine or taking any other such action against government functionaries for not making voluntary disclosure under Section 4 (1) (c).

RTI activists are peeved with the commission for its alleged failure to implement various Section 4(1). “The whole problem is because the commission is not imposing any fines on violators of the Section 4 (1) (a), (b), (c) and (d),” said Pradip Pradhan, an RTI activist. Pradhan has filed a public interest litigation in the Orissa high court, seeking direction from the court to the state government and the information commission for compliance of Section 4 (1) (b). Under the sub-section, the public authorities are required to voluntarily disclose 17 types of information.








Par panel slams DoPT for non-utilisation of funds

Last Updated: Monday, May 21, 2012, 23:46

New Delhi: Noting low level of expenditure on key schemes, a Parliamentary Committee on Monday came down heavily on the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and its allied organisation like the CBI, CVC and CIC.

The Panel in its report tabled in parliament today also expressed its anguish over the fact that the Ministry’s latest annual report did not have any reference to the Lokpal Bill 2011.

Besides, it has also suggested that the Government consider an anti-corruption legislation to cover private persons and bribe givers.

In a detailed explanatory note furnished by the Ministry, it has been stated that for the year 2009-10, plan allocation for the scheme ‘Propagation of Right to Information Act was reduced from Rs 14.16 crore to Rs 10.66 crore in Revised Estimates 2009-10 due to slow pace of expenditure, non-receipt of utilisation certificates from some state governments and that unutilised surplus funds of Rs 0.35 crore could not be surrendered in time leading to lapse of funds.

During 2010-11, plan allocation for the scheme was reduced from Rs 19 crore to Rs 11.35 crore in RE 2010-11 for the same reason as also in 2011-12 during which the plan allocation was also reduced from Rs 51.60 crore to Rs 24.60 crore in RE 2011-12.

The Committee took serious note of the fact that the reasons furnished by the Ministry for reducing the expenditure at the RE stage for various plan schemes have remained almost the same during the past three years.

“The Committee wonders why this trend was not noticed and arrested by taking appropriate remedial steps,” it said and directed the Ministry to ensure “optimum utilisation of available funds”. Noting that the corruption is deep rooted in the society which needs serious and immediate attention, the Committee felt that there was need to bring about a shift in the mindset of the public servants so that they opt to remain honest and discreet in their functioning.

“For the purpose of meeting the objective of elimination of corruption in the society, Government may also consider bringing even private individuals under the fold of a suitable anti-corruption legislation because if bribe givers are left scot-free, it may be a difficult task to exercise a check on the bribe seekers,” it said in the report tabled today in the Parliament.

Such steps, the Committee felt, were imminent seeing the pervasive public sentiments of being fed up of this menace.

“The Committee would like all these steps to be taken in a definite time frame as much delay has already occurred,” the report said.

It was also anguished over the vacant posts in various cadres of All India Services and in CBI, CVC and CIC and told the Ministry to take steps on war-footing level to provide necessary manpower and infrastructure supports to these organisations.

The panel has also recommended to the government to constitute an anti-human trafficking cell under the control of CBI besides imparting stress management training to the personnel of the investigating agency.







MCD employee’s kin awarded Rs 12 L compensation in mishap case

Agencies : New Delhi, Mon May 21 2012, 19:51 hrs

Family members of an MCD employee, who was crushed to death in a road accident by a rashly driven bus in 2006, have been awarded a compensation of over Rs 12 lakh by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here.

MACT Presiding Officer Nirja Bhatia directed The New India Assurance Company Ltd, with which the offending bus was insured, to pay Rs 12.67 lakh to his wife, his three children and his mother.

“I hereby award an amount of Rs 12,67,224 as compensation with interest at the rate of nine per cent per annum, from the date of filing the present petition, i.e., October 5, 2006 till the date of realisation of the amount, in favour of the petitioners and against the respondents,” she said.

Delhi-resident Ram Kishan, an MCD employee, had met with an fatal accident on August 1, 2006 when he was hit by a bus while walking back home.

Kishan’s kin had sought a total compensation of Rs 20 lakh along with interest.

“Having regard to the circumstances, there is sufficient material on record to indict the erring driver for his rashness and negligence in driving the offending vehicle,” the court said.

The court ordered that 50 per cent of the awarded amount of Rs 12.67 lakh be imparted in favour of his wife.

It also directed that Rs 50,689 be given in favour of each of the three minor children of the deceased which would be kept in a fixed deposit account.









Investors’ forum files PIL in Delhi High Court for penal action against defaulting listed companies

MUMBAI: A Delhi-based investors’ association has filed a public interest litigation in the Delhi High Court alleging failure of regulators to initiate action against listed companies that have failed to meet their obligations. The PIL would be taken up by the division bench of the court on July 12.

Earlier, a PIL had sought a stay on implementation of BSE’s proposed new norms for revocation of suspended companies in the Delhi High Court. The PIL, which alleged that the new norms could potentially cause losses to public shareholders of these suspended firms, is listed on May 30. It said the requirement for revoking suspension is stringent and may result in loss to investors.

The latest PIL alleges that Securities and Exchanges Board of India’s (Sebi) inaction, subsequent to the failure of stock exchanges to initiate penal action against companies which failed in performing their statutory obligations, has enabled thousands of listed companies and their promoters and directors to get away with unfair practices. There has been no imposition of the statutory monetary penalty and penal action despite violation of the listing agreement, the PIL alleged.

It has asked the court to direct the capital markets regulator to take action as per the recommendations of a committee appointed by Sebi in 2010. The committee, chaired by the then Sebi whole-time member MS Sahoo, had MDs of both the exchanges and representatives from investors associations as members of it. The committee recommended in March 2011 that action be taken against these firms for non-compliance of listing conditions.

According to the petition by Midas Touch Investors Association or MTIA, a Sebi-registered investors association, “Small investors are the biggest losers due to such inaction. Their estimated investment of over Rs 1 lakh crore is blocked and in suspended animation for years. The number of affected small investors may be one crore.”

While suspension does not affect a company’s functioning, it has an adverse impact on its public shareholders since they cannot exit until the suspension is revoked. An email query sent to Sebi did not elicit any response.

According to the petition, around 2,000 companies of the total 5,000 listed companies on NSE and BSE were not in compliance with various listing norms in 2010 when Sebi decided to form a committee to look into the issue.

Though the committee recommended specific action against these companies and its promoters , by NSE, BSE and Sebi, no action has been taken so far. Measures recommended for strengthening the monitoring system also have not been put in place.






Bombay high court: Kids can’t be kept away from either parent

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | May 22, 2012, 03.11AM IST

MUMBAI: Children cannot be deprived of the company of either parent, the Bombay high court said on Monday while hearing a woman’s plea to stay a family court order allowing her husband to take their son for holidays.

A vacation division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and P D Kode was hearing an appeal by Priya Kulkarni challenging the family court’s May 9, 2012, order allowing her husband Suhas to take their son Rahul (6) for holidays from May 21-June 4. The judge noted that during an interview Rahul was eager to spend time with his father.

“The experience of the warring couples may be bad, but it does not mean the child should remain without the father’s love and affection,” he said.

The couple married in May 2005 and their son was born a year later. Priya left the house in 2009 and filed cases under Sections 498 A (dowry) and 326 (causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code, alleging that her husband beat her up badly. She moved the Pune family court for maintenance and in April 2009, Suhas was directed to pay Rs 11,000 to her and Rahul.

Pointing out that Suhas has not complied with the maintenance order, Priya’s advocate, F A Pareira, argued that he was a criminal and had beaten her up badly, causing a contusion on the frontal lobe. “He has a criminal record and unless cleared of these cases, he should not be allowed access to the child,” said Pareira. He also said the court had orally stayed its order till May 30.

“How do you call him a hardcore criminal on the basis of these cases?” asked Justice Kathawalla. The judges noted that no notice was served to Suhas to enable him to appear before the HC. “You’ll have to give access to the father. Children cannot be deprived of the company of either parent. As a father, why should he not have access to the child?” asked Justice Kathwalla.

The judges said they were familiar with tactics used by couples to deprive either of access to child.

“We know all the tricks that are used. You first comply with the order and give him access, and then move this court,” Justice Kathwalla added.

The judges said they found nothing wrong with the family court’s order and warned that if there was no stay from it, as claimed by Pareira, “we shall give access to the father for an entire month”. They directed Priya to hand over Rahul to Suhas at the family court on Tuesday and posted the matter for hearing on Wednesday.











Currency case: Charges against Karmapa dropped

Shimla, May 21, 2012

The Himachal Pradesh government’s move to remove the name of Tibetan religious head and the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje from a currency seizure case got the court’s nod on Monday with the judge deciding to drop the charges against him. “After considering the plea moved by the

prosecution to drop his name from the charge sheet, judicial magistrate Kanika Chawla in Una town has decided to remove his name,” district attorney Ram Swaroop Sharma said.

The Karmapa was charged under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

He was the 10th accused in the seizure of currencies of 26 countries, including 120,197 Chinese yuan and around Rs. 5.3 million in Indian currency, from the Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery located on the outskirts of Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Jan 28 last year.

Sharma said the trial against nine other accused in the case would continue and the hearing is next slated for Aug 4.

The 26-year-old Karmapa is the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu School, one of the four sects of Tibetan Buddhism. He joined the Dalai Lama in exile in 2000. Ever since, he has mostly lived at the monastery in Sidhbari near Dharamsala.

As the news about dropping of charges against the Karmapa spread, a large number of the exiles and his followers assembled in his Sidhbari monastery.

“Finally the truth has prevailed. We have always expressed faith in the rule of law of the country. We all are much relieved,” said Gonpo Tsering, administrative secretary to the Karmapa.

After taking the opinion of the state home and law departments, the government last month decided under Section 321 (withdrawal of prosecution) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to drop the Karmapa’s name from the charge sheet.

An official associated with the case said the government in its report said that “the Karmapa is an esteemed religious leader of the Tibetans with a vast following and charging him with conspiracy could hurt the religious sentiments of the people”.

He said the law department observed that the charges against the Karmapa “are very weak and there is no material evidence to corroborate them”.

The Karmapa’s name was included in the charge sheet filed by police Dec 7, 2011.

His office told investigating agencies that the money was collected in donations from followers the world over, including scores who come from Tibet and carry Chinese currency.










Briefly State: Free air travel for freedom fighters: HC seeks Centre’s response

Express news service : Tue May 22 2012, 03:40 hrs

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued notices to the Union Aviation Ministry and Union Home Ministry on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to grant free air travel facility to the freedom fighters and their spouses.

A lawyer, H C Arora, has moved the PIL seeking quashing of an order dated July 27, 2011 issued by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) declining free air travel, or with 75 per cent concession to freedom fighters.









7/11 accused wants books to study, HC treats his letter as PIL

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Tue May 22 2012, 02:18 hrs

A letter by a prime accused in the 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts to the Delhi High Court may determine the rights of a prisoner, who would fall in the BPL category, to get study material under RTI.

Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui had sought copies of books published by the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) under RTI to “study” the same. The CCRH refused on the ground that these were “priced publications” and hence could not be given free. His request for soft copies was also turned down, citing copyright laws.

However, Siddiqui argued that since he fell in the below poverty line category, a fact verified by the Bombay High Court Registrar, he should be given this “information” free of cost.

After his pleas with the CCRH and the Central Information Commission failed to yield any results, Siddiqui drafted a letter petition and mailed it to the Delhi High Court. After taking due note of the five-page letter that reached it in the first week of May, the court has converted it to a PIL. Justice Vipin Sanghi has also appointed advocate Sumeet Pushkarna as amicus curiae to assist the case.

Siddiqui cites Section 7(5) of the RTI Act that says that even for supplying a priced publication, no fee shall be charged from persons under the BPL category. He also points out that his status itself has not been questioned by RTI departments of the CCRH. A denial citing monetary reasons, he says, is therefore wrong.

The RTI enables an applicant to obtain information, including copies of books or other such material, unless exempted from disclosure. Siddiqui also raises questions over invoking of copyright laws, pointing out that providing soft copies does not violate the same unless the copies are published by anyone for financial gains without their permission.

Requesting the court to direct the CCRH to provide the information to him under RTI, he has also urged that he be brought to court by his jail superintendent for every date of hearing in the Delhi High Court.

One of the prime accused in the Mumbai 7/11 terror attacks of 2006, in which seven bombs kept in first-class coaches of Mumbai’s suburban trains and at railway stations had killed 187, Siddiqui has been lodged in jail since 2006.






Stop playing tricks, hand over kid to hubby, HC tells mother

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Don’t play tricks with the court, warned the Bombay high court on Monday while hearing the plea of a mother who challenged the family court decision to temporarily allow the custody of her five-year-old son to her husband.

Rubbishing the wife’s claim that the husband, a Pune-based businessman, is in improper frame of mind, the vacation bench of justice SJ Kathawalla and justice PD Kode ordered the wife to hand over their son to him at the family court on Tuesday. The bench warned: “In the event the court order is not met with, then the wife’s plea will be dismissed on the next hearing, due on Wednesday, and the father granted a complete one-month access to the child.”

The wife has challenged the May 9 order of the family court, which has allowed the husband access to his minor son during summer vacation. When her advocate argued before the high court that “the husband does not have a mind of his own apart from having a criminal case pending against him”, the court clarified that “the child cannot be denied access of any of the parents”.

“Don’t play tricks that I have moved high court against the custody order and that my plea has been admitted, so the custody cannot be given,” the HC bench warned.

As per the wife’s plea, the couple married in 2006 and in 2009, allegedly after harassment from the husband, the wife filed for a divorce in the family court. The divorce case is pending.

Meanwhile, the court also ordered the husband to pay a maintenance of Rs11,000 to the mother and child, which he has not paid for the past 18 months. However, when the husband moved the court seeking for a month’s access to the child, it was granted. The child’s custody is to be handed over by the wife to the husband on Tuesday.








Land grab: Take ex-judge’s consent to head panel, says HC

Sanjeev Verma, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 21, 2012

Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday directed amicus curiae Arun Jain to take the consent of former Supreme Court judge Kuldeep Singh to head the commission to be set up to probe the land grabbed in UT periphery by senior politicians and bureaucrats. A district judge would also be a member of the proposed commission. The HC also directed Jain to chalk out the terms of reference of the panel. The case would come up for hearing on Tuesday.

On Thursday, dissatisfied with the Punjab government action in the case of land acquired by prominent people in the periphery of Chandigarh, the high court had voiced the need for a court-monitored probe by a commission or tribunal headed by a retired judge.
The HC had asked senior advocate Arun Jain to act as amicus curiae (friend of the court) and sum up the issue by Monday.

The action came after state chief secretary Rakesh Singh finally submitted an affidavit carrying a list of 60 persons, the who’s who of Punjab who own land in Punjab’s SAS Nagar district adjoining UT.

Seemingly not happy with the affidavit, the HC bench told the state counsel, “Those who are at the helm of affairs, including [the] chief minister, are indulging in such activities […] then how can justice be done [?]… They’ll not proceed against themselves.”

The court opined that the case should be monitored by the high court “like the 2G spectrum case was being monitored by the apex court”, and asked for the entire record to be handed to advocate Jain, who would assist the court.









SC allows entry into Kalighat temple’s sanctum sanctorum

New Delhi, May 21, 2012

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Calcutta high court order banning the entry of devotees into the sanctum sanctorum of the famed Kalighat temple in Kolkata.

A bench of justice Deepak Verma and justice SJ Mukhopadhyay, while staying the high court order, directed the West Bengal Government, the Centre and the temple committee to file their responses within four weeks.

The apex court, however, clarified that certain restrictions imposed by the high court on preserving the cleanliness and hygiene in and around the temple shall continue to be in force.

The apex court had on May 15 issued notices to the Centre and the West Bengal government on a plea for permitting devotees to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Kolkata Kalighat temple to pay obeisance to its deity.

The Calcutta high court on April 20 had restricted the entry into the Kali temple and had ordered that no visitors, including VIPs, will be allowed into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

Pleading for a stay on the high court order, the temple committee had submitted that the ban on the entry of devotees was creating a law and order problem.

In a slew of directions, the high court had earlier ordered that only two priests designated by temple authorities would be present within the sanctum sanctorum.

The high court had also ruled that no one should be allowed to accept offerings of money or valuables from devotees.

The order was passed on a petition filed before the court on malpractices and harassment of visitors to the temple.

Considered an adi shakti peeth, the temple is believed to be more than 200-years-old.








HC notice to Centre over plea for free air travel to freedom fighters

TNN | May 22, 2012, 05.51AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Taking cognizance of a PIL seeking quashing of orders of MHA, declining to grant free air travel or air travel at concessional rates to freedom fighters and their spouses, a division bench of Punjab and Haryana high court, comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh, issued notices to Union ministries of home affairs and civil aviation on Monday.

Petitioner H C Arora, advocate, had sought directions to quash the orders of July 27 last year, issued by MHA, declining to grant free air travel, or even air travel with 75% concession to freedom fighters and their spouses, as is being extended to war widows and war heroes/gallantry award winners/handicapped/injured soldiers.

The MHA had informed the petitioner that already the Central government was burdened with Rs 780 crore annually on account of pension being given to 53,000 freedom fighters and their dependants. Besides, Rs 30 crore annually was being spent by Union railway ministry in extending free travel facility to freedom fighters in Shatabdi/Rajdhani trains. Free air travel facility or even 75% concession in airfare for traveling in government-owned airlines would cost a huge amount to the government. Thus, the Union home ministry was not in favour of granting the aforesaid relief to surviving freedom fighters and their spouses, the MHA order had said.









May 26 date for ND Tiwari’s test

New Delhi, May 21, 2012

Congress leader ND Tiwari was on Monday asked by the Delhi high court to appear in person on May 26 before it to give blood sample for a DNA test to decide the paternity suit of a man claiming to be his son.
“Defendant number 1 (Tiwari) is directed to appear on May 26 at 12 noon along with his two photographs,” Joint Registrar of Delhi high court, Deepak Garg, said, adding that the court should not rush to take police assistance for enforcing its order.

86-year-old Tiwari will “be given an opportunity to voluntarily comply with the order,” Garg said and asked the medical chief of the dispensary, located inside the high court premises, to appoint a doctor for collecting the blood sample on May 26, the next date of hearing.

The court’s direction came after it was informed that the requisite DNA kit has been received by the high court registry from Hyderabad-based lab Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD).

Justice Reva Khetrapal of the high court had on May 16 ordered its registrar to take police assistance for bringing the defiant veteran Congress leader here for taking his blood sample to decide the paternity suit.

Justice Khetrapal had came down heavily on the counsel representing the Dehradun-based Congress leader, after he sought adjournment of hearing on the ground that a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court on the issue.

The court had said that considering the age of Tiwari, the order of taking the blood sample is required to be implemented “as expeditiously as possible otherwise an irreparable loss is bound to visit the plaintiff”.

The court’s directions came on the plea of 32-year-old Rohit Shekhar seeking to compel Tiwari to furnish his blood sample at the earliest to decide the four-year-old paternity suit. He has sought a judicial declaration that Tiwari is his biological father.









Child rights protection panel must: HC to UT

Express news service : Chandigarh, Tue May 22 2012, 01:17 hrs

Making it clear that it cannot run away from its responsibility of setting up a commission for protection of child rights, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today told the Chandigarh Administration that the setting up a commission or centralised agency for the protection of child rights is mandatory. Showing little conviction in the argument raised by the Administration that there is no need to have a separate Commission, the High Court today expressed surprise over the “peculiar” stand taken by the Administration.

The directions were passed during the resumed hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by social activist Hemant Goswami seeking directions to set up a commission for protection of child rights. Till now, the Chandigarh Administration had been opposing the demand of setting up a commission for protection of child rights.

The Administration today took the plea that a child welfare committee was set up on March 18, 2009. It was pointed out by Advocate Anil Malhotra that the tenure of the said committee has already expired. Malhotra is the counsel for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

Last year the Administration had filed an affidavit opposing the commission, stating that “the Government of India has given directions to Chandigarh to set up a state commission for protection of child rights under the protection of the Child Rights Act, 2005, but the Chandigarh Administration had taken up the matter with the Ministry of Women and Child Development and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to exempt Chandigarh from having a separate sate commission. Moreover, Chandigarh has no legislature of its own as Parliament legislates for Chandigarh. However, it is ensured that all the benefits are made available to deserving children and all schemes and programmes relating to the welfare of children are implemented in letter and spirit”.

The counsel for the Administration reiterated that it has sought exemption from the Central government. Refusing to entertain this averment and terming it as misconceived, the High Court highlighted the significance of having a Commission or central agency to safeguard the rights of children. The Chandigarh Administration has been given one week’s time to clarify it’s stand on the issue. The matter will now come up for resumed hearing on May 28.







HC slams Punjab, Haryana for failing to form child rights body

Express news service : Chandigarh, Tue May 22 2012, 03:59 hrs

Taking serious note of Punjab and Haryana’s failure to constitute an agency for the protection of child rights, the Punjab and Haryana High Court took both states to task on Monday.

While Haryana government was reprimanded for not providing a clear answer on the issue, the Punjab government earned scathing criticism for not implementing its undertaking. The high court has given both states, a week’s time, to clarify their stands on the setting up of a child protection commission/ centralised agency. The directions were passed on a petition, filed by social activist Hemant Goswami, seeking directions to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for the setting up of a commission for the protection of child rights.

During the resumed hearing, the Haryana government on Monday submitted that it will constitute a comprehensive authority. Unimpressed with the submission, the court questioned as to why a commission was not being set up. Incidentally, the Haryana government, on the last date of hearing, had promised to form a Right to Education Protection Authority (REPA). The court, however, had questioned the constitution of the REPA as all the proposed members were bureaucrats.

For an effective commission, the high court on Monday directed the Haryana government to consult the chairman of the Haryana Legal Services Authority on the issue of members and chairman to be appointed for the commission.

The counsel for the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, advocate Anil Malhotra emphasised that the two states cannot escape from their responsibilities on the child right issue and urged the states to appoint people with experience and knowledge in the protection of child rights.

In the case of Punjab, the high court took strong exception to the non-assistance by government authorities. On April 15, 2011 the Punjab government had told the court that it has decided to set up a Commission for protection of child rights. However, no names of its members have been submitted till now. When asked, counsel for Punjab government failed to assist the court citing lack of co-operation from government authorities.

Taking serious note of this, the high court ordered that the secretary, Department of Social Security and Women shall remain present in the Court on May 28, if the government fails to file an affidavit submitting the required information. The case will now come up for resumed hearing on May 28.








HC for probe on periphery properties by Tribunal

Express news service : Chandigarh, Tue May 22 2012, 01:23 hrs

The investigation pertaining to illegal properties allegedly owned by high-ups in the city’s periphery is all set to be handed over to a judicial tribunal. For, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked senior lawyer Arun Jain, the amicus curiae, to suggest the terms of reference for the Tribunal. The amicus was today asked to suggest the scope of probe for the tribunal.

Showing little hope of a fair investigation by the State investigating agency, the High Court today made it clear that it was in favour of handing over the probe to a tribunal which would be headed by a retired Supreme Court/ High Court Judge who will be assisted by a District and Sessions Judge.

The name of Justice (Retd) Kuldeep Singh, Supreme Court Judge, was today suggested by the division bench for chairmanship of the proposed Tribunal. The Bench asked the amicus curiae to suggest more names and also to consult Justice Kuldeep Singh and apprise the Court if he (Kuldeep Singh) was ready to head the tribunal. The amicus has been asked to submit the same by Tuesday.

During the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to investigate the alleged illegal properties owned by high-ups, the amicus curiae also pointed out certain discrepancies in the investigation reports submitted by the Punjab government. He agreed that the probe should be handed over to a Judicial Tribunal. At present, the case is being investigated by Punjab Police.

After the investigation conducted by Chander Shekhar, retired Punjab Director General of Police (DGP), the government had constituted a special investigation team (SIT).

Equating the gravity of the case with the infamous 2G spectrum case, the High Court had opined on the last dates of hearing that the investigation should be handed over to a judicial tribunal. This was observed since the names of several high-ups including those at the helm of affairs had figured in the investigation reports submitted by the government from time to time.

However, on the last date of hearing the Punjab government had apprised the Court that it has given a clean chit to the majority of high-ups in the case. Seven persons were in the possession of government/ public land. The Punjab government has submitted that “land in possession of all other individuals was never government/public land.”

It was found that about 60 most influential persons, including Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, had acquired land in the area. However, a clean chit was given to them and several other high-ups by the State.

The government’s report, along with an affidavit of chief secretary Rakesh Singh on the last date of hearing, had stated that in the case of these seven VIPs, shamlat deh/ shamlat deh hasab rasad jar khewat has been mutated in favour of the VIP, either directly or through a series of buyers and sellers.

The list includes the names of retired IAS officer J S Kesar, former SSP Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, retired DSP Surjit Singh, daughter-in-law of Balwant Singh Ramoowalia Surjit Kaur, retired Chandigarh SP Baldev Singh, DSP Mukhtiar Singh in joint ownership with another police official Gurmeet Singh and Daljit Singh Dhillon, son of Lal Singh, a retired IAS officer.









HC Orders Crime Branch to probe RTI activist death

New Delhi, May 21, 2012

The Delhi high court on Monday ordered the Crime Branch of Delhi Police to probe into the mysterious death of transparency activist Ravinder Balwani.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked police to appraise it of its probe every fortnight by filing progress reports.

“Having regard to the seriousness of the case, the investigation is to be conducted by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police and the progress report to be filed fortnightly,” the bench said.

The court passed the order after the Lokayukta’s counsel pointed out that Balwani’s son has recently sent a letter, written by his father before his death, to the corruption watchdog, in which the deceased had apprehended threat to his life.

Appearing before the bench, Delhi government’s Standing Counsel Pawan Sharma told the court that Balwani’s case is one of hit-and-run and an FIR was also lodged with the Vasant Kunj police station for it.

The issue of Balwani’s death was mentioned when the court was hearing the Lokayukta’s plea challenging a single judge’s order which had said that Lokayukta has no authority to inquire into allegations against any member of the judicial service or of the civil services of the Union or the state.

The Lokayukta had, in 2009, summoned some IAS officers who were posted with the Delhi Transco on Balwani’s complaint against them for their alleged role in some corrupt deeds.

A former manager with Delhi Transco Limited, Balwani was found fatally injured near a bustling marketplace, less than 2km from his house, on April 26 evening.

Balwani used the Right to Information Act extensively to expose the wrongdoings of officials in the power sector. He was actively involved in the RTI campaign of Magsaysay Award winner Arvind Kejriwal’s NGO Parivartan way back in 2005.








HC for independent probe in police custodial torture case

RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Tue May 22 2012, 01:16 hrs

For allegedly beating up a man in police custody and fracturing both his hip bones, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), an Inspector, two constables and an assistant sub-inspector with Punjab Police posted in Patiala are in thick soup. Expressing shock over the alleged custodial torture, Justice Rajan Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that “prima facie it appears that an inquiry by an independent authority/ agency may be required”.

Dissatisfied with the Punjab government’s inquiry and response into the allegations of custodial torture, the High Court today gave one last opportunity to the Punjab government to submit its reply as to why the investigation of the case should not be handed over to an independent agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Punjab Police has been give a week’s time to submit its response.

The directions were passed today by Justice Rajan Gupta on a petition filed by one Karnail Singh, resident of Sangrur. The petitioner had moved the High Court alleging custodial torture.

The petitioner had contended that an FIR on charges of cheating was registered by the Patiala Police on March 3, 2011. Karnail Singh was picked up from his residence on March 2, 2011, and was severely beaten up resulting in fracture of both hip bones. There were allegations against Karnail Singh of defrauding a Patiala resident in a property case.

The petitioner demanded that the inquiry/ investigation of the case be entrusted to an independent agency. The counsel for the Punjab government opposed the demand on the ground that three enquiries have been conducted in the case, last being by the Punjab Additional Director General of Police (VIgilance). According to the counsel, the allegations levelled by the petitioner could not be substantiated in the said inquiries.

Before proceeding further in the matter, the Court had on the last date of hearing in April “deemed it fit that the stand of the State is made clear to this Court”. In response, the affidavit of Punjab Additional Director General of Police (Internal Vigilance) Narinder Sharma was filed today.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the stand taken earlier has merely been reiterated.

According to the counsel, the affidavit does not throw any light on the manner in which the occurence took place.

“The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the story of the investigating agency appears to be prima facie false as, admittedly, the petitioner had stopped his vehicle and disclosed to the police that his left hip bone was fractured. According to the affidavit, immediately thereafter he tried to escape and fell in a ditch resulting in fracture of the other hip. The counsel contended that only an independent inquiry/ investigation can reveal the actual course of events. Faced with this situation, the State counsel sought instructions from the Patiala senior superintendent of police (SSP). Although he agrees in principle that an independent inquiry may be in order, he submitted that it is not a fit case for handing over to the CBI,” Justice Rajan Gupta held today.

The Punjab law officer added that another inquiry can be conducted by the Patiala Inspector General of Police. This was objected to strongly by the counsel for the petitioner. “In view of the above, one last opportunity was granted to the State counsel. Prima facie, it appears that an inquiry by an independent authority/ agency may be required,” reads the order.









HC orders probe into death of power whistleblower

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 22, 2012

The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Delhi Police Crime Branch to probe the mysterious death of RTI activist Ravinder Balwani. Balwani, who died in an accident on April 26, had exposed the alleged corruption by some IAS officers working with the Delhi Transco. He had also been involved with Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal’s NGO, Parivartan.

The direction to the Delhi Police came during a hearing into a plea by Delhi Lokayukta, challenging a single judge bench order that the ombudsman had no authority to inquire into the allegations against a member of judicial service or civil services of the Union or state.

The counsel for the Lokayukta told the court that Balwani’s son had sent a letter to the watchdog, which was written by the RTI activist before his death. In the letter, addressed to the Lokayukta, Balwani had apprehended a threat to his life.

In 2009, the Lokayukta had summoned the IAS officers, against whom Balwani had sent a complaint. But after the officers moved the court, a single judge bench barred the watchdog from moving against them.

A former manager with the Delhi Transco Limited, Balwani was found injured near his house. Delhi government’s standing counsel Pawan Sharma told the court that it was hit-and-run and a case in this regard had been lodged in the Vasant Kunj police station.


LEGAL NEWS 18.05.2012

50 per cent prosecutors in special courts should be SC/STs: Balakrishnan Ankit Jain : New Delhi, Fri May 18 2012, 00:23 hrs K G Balakrishnan, former Chief Justice of India and the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Thursday called for appointment of at least 50 per cent of public prosecutors from the SC/ST category in the special courts adjudicating cases under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. According to him, such appointments were necessary since only people from the SC/ST class could relate to victims of atrocities and handle such cases with sensitivity and responsibility. Speaking at the National Seminar on the status of implementation of the SC/ST Act, Justice Balakrishnan recommended that exclusive special courts in all states should be set up to handle such cases. “There must be proper investigation in all atrocity cases. Moreover, the social mindset of people needs to be changed and people of SC/ST communities should be provided equal opportunities,” he said, adding that lawmakers should also raise their voice in Parliament on the issue. Private burial ground encroaches upon civic amenity site, leaves residents fuming TNN | May 18, 2012, 03.45AM IST BANGALORE: The domain of the dead encroaches upon that of the living here. Ironically, it’s a private graveyard but the space allegedly encroached upon is public — a civic amenity site at Raghuvanahalli off Kanakapura Main Road. The graveyard on a CA site has been giving sleepless nights to residents of the layout carved out by the Bangalore City Municipal Corporation (BCMC) Employees House Building Cooperative Society. The residents have moved the BBMP, Talghattapura police, the State Human Rights Commission, the National Human Rights Commission, the jurisdictional corporator and the chief minister on the issue. But their repeated appeals are yet to yield fruit. The latest burial conducted in the site was in 2009, going by the epitaphs. “Chikkaveerappa, a landlord who sold 44 acres of his land to the layout, has encroached upon the civic amenity site and is using it as his family graveyard. The law prohibits burial in residential areas or on public land without permission from the corporation. Despite repeated complaints from residents, the BBMP hasn’t taken any action against Chikkaveerappa. In fact, senior BBMP officials have ridiculed me for ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’,” alleged Suresh B (name changed), a techie who stays in Raghuvanahalli and spearheading the anti-encroachment protest. BBMP’s quick remedy After the issue reached the NHRC, BBMP issued a notice to Chikkaveerappa but said he needn’t remove existing graves but build high walls around them and plant trees to keep them away from the view of others! The Palike then began building a compound wall around the CA site, leaving out the burial area. “BBMP engineers weren’t bothered about clearing the encroachment. Work on the compound wall, too, has come to a halt after men from the landlord’s side allegedly threatened the labourers,” said BS Pradeep, who is constructing a house in front of the CA site. “I constructed a house here in 2005; the CA site was barren then. On the day of my housewarming, a body was buried. I took it up with the residents’ welfare association. Later I moved into another house in the locality,” said a BBMP official and layout resident. Suresh said he received threatening calls after he raised the graveyard issue. “I lodged a police complaint after which Talaghattapura police warned the landlord’s son against troubling us. I have also lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta against the then joint commissioner of the BBMP, RR Nagar zone,” he said. What BBMP says Joint commissioner of RR Nagar K Chandrashekar said he had taken charge only recently and wasn’t aware of the issue. He promised to take action after examining the matter. But he ruled out a re-survey if there is BDA-approved layout plan, he added. His predecessor, H Ramachandran, said the graveyard is Chikkaveerappa’s property and refused to elaborate further, saying he is no longer in charge. Hubby corporator When TOI called jurisdictional Hemmigepura corporator Veena Nagaraj, a man claiming to be her husband picked up the phone. “I am her husband. There is no difference between you talking to her or me. I don’t know if Chikkaveerappa has encroached upon the land. Only survey reports can confirm it. May be the survey has been delayed because the joint commissioner will have to order it,” he said. High Court notice to act against fraudster–act-against-fraudster/258629-60-117.html Express News Service CUTTACK: A division bench of the Orissa High Court has asked the State Government and DCP, Bhubaneswar, to inform it about the steps taken against Tribeni Kumar Mohanty for committing fraud and cheating public to the tune of Rs 300 crore. The court has sought response within two weeks. The bench comprising Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice S K Mishra issued notices acting on a writ petition filed by Priyabrata Mohapatra and 428 others, who are victims of cheating and fraud by companies namely M/s Star Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd, M/s Star Yogic Resorts & Leisures Ltd, M/s Star Concrete Pvt Ltd and New Era Resources Pvt Ltd, all established by Mohanty. These firms allegedly collected crores of rupees from the petitioners/depositors under various schemes. The petitioners alleged that Mohanty, who is the Managing Director of Star Consultancy Services Ltd, had promised the depositors that upon investment in these companies, the return would double. To create confidence in the minds of the depositors, he also paid doubled returns to a few depositors, they said. However, the petitioners became victims of fraud committed by these companies, they said, and prayed before the court for a direction to the opposition parties to refund the amount collected from them and take appropriate legal and criminal action against Mohanty. Significantly, considering the case of the petitioners, the High Court has directed that the assets of all these companies shall not be transferred in any manner till disposal of the writ petition. Shankar Bidari’s case goes to HC Chief Justice Last Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 15:35 Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court today referred to the Chief Justice, the writ petition filed by former DGP Shankar Mahadev Bidari, seeking reinstatement as Director General of Police. The division bench, comprising Justices N Kumar and H S Kempanna referred the matter to the Chief Justice, considering Bidari’s application, asking the bench not to hear the matter and place it before the Chief Justice. Earlier, the bench observed it was ready to hear the matter and had been constituted for the very purpose but was referring it to the CJ in view of the application filed. Bidari had filed the petition in the wake of the recent Supreme Court verdict directing the Karnataka High Court to review the case. On April 24 the Apex Court had stayed the High Court order quashing Bidari’s appointment as Director General of Police. Bidari is due to retire from service on May 31. HC notice on nuisance in Badambadi Express News Service CUTTACK: Acting on a writ petition filed by a group of private bus owners of Cuttack, a division bench of the Orissa High Court comprising Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice S K Mishra has issued notices to the State Government, Commissioner of Police as well as DCP, Cuttack over increasing anti-social activities in Badambadi bus stand premises. Rabinarayan Behera and 32 other bus operators filed the petition. The High Court has asked the Government and the police to file their response within two weeks. The petitioners alleged that the police have failed in their duty to prevent anti-social activities at Badambadi bus stand which, they said, create difficulty in plying the buses. It was also alleged that hooligans are even forcibly controlling the timing of the buses apart from regular extortion from the operators. Citing incidents as reported in the newspapers, the petitioners alleged that even the bus owners, sometimes, have suffered humiliation and assault by the anti-social elements and the police have not taken any action against them. The petitioners appealed to the High Court to direct the police to take effective steps in the area and ensure safety of the passengers and bus operators. Jagan media houses plea in HC on Thursday Express News Service HYDERABAD: Justice B Seshasayana Reddy of the AP High Court will hear the four writ petitions filed by Jagan Mohan Reddy’s media companies and journalists working in them on Thursday. They sought suspension of operation of the impugned government order stopping ads to Jagati Publications, publisher of Sakshi newspaper, and Indira Television that operates Sakshi channel. The Jagan companies, in their petition, said the government order violates Article 14 of the Constitution and wanted restoration of the ads. About 15 employees who included journalists of Jagati Publications joined the managements in challenging the government directive. The employees said their managements had never interfered in the news content disseminated by the newspaper or channel. Sakshi newspaper editor V Murali contended that the government’s action was clearly an attempt to muzzle freedom of the press. He pointed out that the FIR and chargesheet filed by the CBI would indicate that some of the allegations relate to the acts of the government, which would therefore be a co-accused. The petitions pointed out that rival media houses have been setting agenda for CBI’s investigation of the case against Jagan’s companies. The agency has not taken similar action on allegations faced by Ushodaya Publications, publisher of Eenadu newspaper, they pointed out. Jagan’s companies on Wednesday also challenged the special CBI court’s order dismissing petitions filed by them seeking de-freezing of company bank accounts. Last week, the CBI had frozen bank accounts of three Jagan firms – Jagati Publications, Indira Television and Janani Infrastructure – on the ground that the firms received amounts as quidpro- quo for favours doled out during YSR’s tenure. Scribe attack case: DIG, SP offered to settle Unnithan case, accused cop says KOCHI: DySP M Santhosh Nair, who is accused of having hired a quotation gang to attack Mathrubhumi reporter V B Unnithan, has filed a petition in a magistrate court here alleging that he was forced by DIG S Sreejith and SP Sam Christy Daniel to take full responsibility for the attack on the scribe. Santhosh Nair alleged in a petition filed before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court of Ernakulam on Thursday that the DIG and SP illegally detained him at the crime branch’s office at Kaloor here and offered to facilitate filing of a chargesheet laid with lighter accusations to facilitate his escape if he was willing to take responsibility for the attack on the scribe, The DIG and SP made the offer accompanied by Muhammed Faisal, SP of crime branch, at the crime branch office at Kaloor, the petition filed through advocate Srinivasan Venugopal alleged. He also alleged that his phone was illegally taken into possession by the crime branch, without recording it in the register as mandated by law. On May 11, the chief judicial magistrate of Ernakulam had recorded the statements of alleged gang leader ‘Container’ Santhosh as an in-camera proceeding. The CBI team that is probing the attack on the scribe had earlier arrested another DySP, Abdul Rasheed, based on Santhosh’s statement. Santhosh had earlier revealed that the two DySPs, Rasheed and Santhosh Nair, had asked him to engage the gang that attacked Unnithan in 2010. An investigation conducted by the crime branch earlier had failed to detect the involvement of senior officials of Kerala police. The ongoing probe had revealed that the attack was part of a conspiracy hatched by some senior cops who employed local goons for the job. Meanwhile, the additional sessions court observed on Thursday that increase in cases involving senior cops was a dangerous trend. The court’s observation was while considering the bail application of DySP Rasheed. The court also observed that the crime branch and the CBI engaging in arguments and counter arguments was not a good practice. Amarjeet Shahi appears in court in another case TNN | May 18, 2012, 06.49AM IST KANPUR: DSP Amarjeet Shahi, an accused in a sexual exploitation case, was brought before a court of Ramabai Nagar on Thursday from Kanpur jail to give evidence in a dowry death case. Shahi was brought in the court under heavy police security and as soon as his evidence was concluded the suspended DSP was sent back to the jail. In the meantime, a large number of lawyers also reached the court to teach ‘a lesson on morality’ to Shahi but they were not able to go near him. Shahi was summoned by additional district and sessions judge AK Singh in a dowry death case styled as state v/s Dharmraj of Ghatampur. Shahi was not appearing in the court for evidence since the last many dates. The ADJ had written a letter to the jail superintendent and directed him to sent Shahi for evidence. The jail authorities sent Shahi in the post-lunch session under heavy police escort. The lawyers raised anti-Shahi slogans to express anger over the ‘shameful conduct’ of this man. Meanwhile, Shahi’s judicial custody remand was extended by the court through video conferencing. Man given 10 yrs jail term in dowry death: Additional district and sessions judge Alakh Narayan Tiwari, on Thursday, convicted a man named as Sanjay for dowry death and sentenced him for ten years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000. Sanjay married Neelu on February 22, 2002. He was not happy with the gifts given at the time of marriage and demanding a motorcycle and Rs 50,000 in cash from his in-laws. He used to torture his wife for that. He killed Neelu on April 30, 2007 when she refused to bring motorcycle and cash rom her in-laws. Neelu’s sister Madhuri Devi lodged the FIR. Court to hear bail plea of marines on May 19 Published: Friday, May 18, 2012, 1:11 IST Place: Kollam | Agency: PTI A local court today posted to May 19 the bail application of the two marines of Italian ship Enrica Lexie, charged with shooting dead two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast on February 15. District and Sessions Court Judge KD Rajan posted the matter for hearing the bail of Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, who have been charged under IPC section 302 (murder), to that date. The naval guards were arrested on February 19 and charged with murder of Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki, who took to sea from Neendakara in Kollam. The accused were in police custody for the first 14 days and had been lodged in a special cell in the central prison since March 5 after the court remanded them to judicial custody. State govt challenges order allowing Nooriya Haveliwala to travel abroad HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Mumbai, May 18, 2012 The state government has moved an application challenging a sessions court order which permitted Nooriya Haveliwala to travel abroad. On January 30, 2010, Haveliwala, a beautician, allegedly drove her SUV into a police check-post in Marine Lines, killing a policeman and a motorcyclist. She had tested positive for alcohol and drugs and was charged for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and under sections of the Motor Vehicles Act and NDPS Act. The special NDPS court had permitted Haveliwala to travel to the US and Dubai from May 16 to June 10. The government has sought the quashing of the order on grounds that the US national might abscond or flee. “There is a likelihood of Nooriya absconding and fleeing away from the clutches of law and not returning to face trial. There is no extradition treaty between the US and India,” the petition stated. Haveliwala’s lawyer told the vacation bench of justice AM Thipsay that she will be leaving on Wednesday. The government’s petition points out that the sessions court order was given without hearing the state, the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and the deputy commissioner of police, special branch. The FRRO had, in October last year, issued a six-point restriction prohibiting Haveliwala from leaving the city after she got bail. Haveliwala had challenged the FRRO’s restriction in the high court which is still pending. The state says that the trial against Haveliwala has begun and nine out of 35 witnesses have been examined so far. The petition will be heard on Friday. Court to pass order on summoning Army chief in defamation case New Delhi, May 18, 2012 A Delhi court is likely to pronounce on Friday its order on summoning Army chief General VK Singh and four others on a criminal defamation complaint filed by former Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh. Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja had on May 14 reserved the order after hearing the arguments on behalf of Tejinder Singh who has sought summoning of the Army chief and four other top officials to respond to the allegations against them. Besides the Army chief, Tejinder Singh has named Vice chief of Army Staff SK Singh, Lt Gen BS Thakur (DG MI), Major General SL Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney, accusing them of misusing their official positions, power and authority to level false charges against him. Tejinder Singh, a former Director General of Defence Intelligence Agency, had filed the defamation complaint against the Army chief and four other army officials rejecting the allegations that he had offered the bribe for clearing a deal for 600 “sub-standard” vehicles. On the last date of hearing, counsel for Tejinder Singh had told the court that the persons named in the complaint should be summoned to appear before it to explain their part. Advocate Anil Aggarwal, who appeared for Tejinder Singh, had told the court that the Army chief had made a complaint to the CBI on April 10 that he was offered a bribe of Rs. 14 crore to strike a defence deal while the press release on the issue of ‘off-the-air-monitoring’ was made by the Army on March 5. He had also referred to the provisions of the Army Act saying a serving person cannot communicate with the media directly and if he has to pass on something, he has to do it through the ministry of defence. CCI penalised NSE for abusing dominant mkt position: Minister PTI May 17, 2012, 04.26PM IST NEW DELHI: The government today said the Competition Commission had imposed penalty on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) for abusing its dominant market position. “MCX Stock Exchange filed a case against National Stock Exchange and others alleging violation of provisions (abuse of dominance) of the Competition Act, 2002,” Minister of State for Corporate Affairs R P N Singh said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. He said the Commission imposed a penalty of Rs 55.50 crore on NSE for contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act in its order dated June 23, 2011. “On the appeal filed by NSE against this order of CCI, the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) has stayed the recovery proceedings,” Singh said. Competition Commission of India (CCI) is the regulator for fair market practices and ensuring level-playing field. Since CCI and COMPAT are quasi-judicial bodies, no action is required to be taken by the government, he replied when asked if any action was taken by it in this regard. The NSE and MCX-Stock Exchange (MCX-SX) had entered into currency derivatives trading in August 2008 and October 2008 respectively, followed by United Stock Exchange (USE) in 2010. However, in November 2009, MCX-SX filed a complaint against NSE for abusing its dominant position and thus violating the Competition Act. After a year-long probe, CCI found NSE guilty of anti-competition practices and penalised it for abusing its dominant market position. Rajasthan government lied to Supreme Court on illegal mining: Kishangarhbas MLA Rajendra Sharma, TNN | May 18, 2012, 03.06AM IST ALWAR: The death of labourers in the illegal mines of Alwar’s Arawali range and Rajsamand district on Thursday brought to the fore lies put up by the state government even before the Supreme Court. In some affidavits submitted to courts over the past two years, the state government claimed to have adopted harsh measures on illegal mining, making it impossible for the mafias to operate with impunity. “The state government is not hesitating to misguide even the Supreme Court over illegal mining. It has submitted misleading affidavits,” Ramhet Yadav, the MLA from Kishangarhbas in Alwar, told TOI. He added that as per an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court by the Alwar district administration, the state government has put a complete check on the illegal mining in the area. “The affidavit says that the state government has adopted such harsh measures that illegal mining is impossible,” Yadav said. However, the deaths of labourers in the region are a testimony to the fact that illegal mining is flourishing due to the nexus of the politicians and the mining mafias, he added. “It is a contempt of the Supreme Court. We demand that action be initiated against those officials who deliberately lied to the court,” Yadav said. In the recent past, several accidents resulting in the death of mine workers have been reported in Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Bharatpur, Nagaur and Ajmer districts. In Alwar district alone, reports suggest that over a hundred illegal mines are still functioning under the direct patronage of a ruling party leader. Of these, a maximum number of illegal mines are present in the Tijara region of Alwar district. Locals said over 1,000 tractors laden with stones from illegal mines are entering Haryana everyday. Yadav said that the administration and other authorities concerned are a party to this criminal practice that has disturbed the ecological balance of the area, and incurred huge losses to the state exchequer. “As a result, the legal miners are suffering maximum losses as the material from illegal mines are sold at much cheaper rates,” he added. The mining mafia wields enough influence in the political circles that none of the parties, which had been in power, had ever enforced strict measures to put a stop to the practice. A report prepared by Rajasthan police’s intelligence branch in October 2010 had claimed that the illegal mining was being allowed following nexus between the officers and the mafias. The report has suggested that the officials take monthly “protection fee” from the mafias. As per the report, over 1,000 trackers are sent to Haryana and Delhi for illegal supply. In Alwar district, areas like Tijara, Bhiwadi, Udhanwas, Choupanki, Hassanpura, Mohanpura and Chuharour are most affected by illegal mining. Apart from that, In Bhilwara, illegal mining is carried out in places like Mandal, Keringa, Bemali and Luhariya. Places like Kushalgarh, Khawasa, Bayal, Talwara, Kalakhut and Pipalkhut in Banswara are known for illegal manganese mining. Anonymous Central takes down Supreme Court, Congress websites A day after the Indian government proposed a hyper watchdog to police the internet, the websites of the Supreme Court of India and the Congress mysteriously went offline on Thursday. This sparked off rumours that the hacker group Anonymous Central had taken down the two sites to protest the government’s censorship plan. The hacking was reportedly in response to the blocking of torrent site and While the Supreme Court of India website came back online after a little while, the Congress website was still offline at the time of filing of this report. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) website had also reportedly come under attack. Earlier, tweeting about the government’s plan, Anonymous Central had tweeted, “Namaste #India, your time has come to trash the current government and install a new one. Good luck.” The proposed plan for censorship pushes for a government-run 50-member body to control the web. The government’s web takeover plan has already been placed before the United Nations (UN). The UN is expected to discuss the proposal in the next 72 hours. The proposal would end “equal say” process for internet governance and push the civil society to the fringes. The proposed Committee for Internet Related Polices (CIRP) would be 50-member body funded by the UN. It would meet once a year and would have the power to oversee all internet standards bodies. If put into force, the move carries a huge potential of hurting India’s image. The move has already been raising the hackles of some MPs. Headlines Today accessed letter of Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh objecting to the proposed watchdog. “India’s proposal, though cleverly worded, hurts its reputation. It hurts advancement of internet as a vehicle for openness, democracy. If accepted, it will be harmful to the interests of Indian citizens. India’s position is closely associated with countries none of which is a sparkling example of democracy. Any attempt to expand government’s power over internet should be turned back,” Chandrasekhar wrote in his letter. Meanwhile, reacting to the proposal for an internet watchdog, Gagandeep S Sapra, had tweeted, “Block The Internet, Ban the Cartoons, Change Text in Textbooks, Delay Justice, Forget the Citizen, Oh What a Beautiful Country #India” Ashwin Siddaramaiah tweeted, “Not just TPB, but also vimeo, dailymotion, pastebin and many more sites are blocked. This Govt. Has been the worst I’ve seen.” Rajya Sabha horse trading allegations: CBI raids premises of 15 MLAs PTI | May 18, 2012, 10.05AM IST RANCHI: The CBI on Friday conducted raids at the premises of 15 Jharkhand MLAs as part of its investigation into the allegations of horse trading that led to countermanding of the March 30 Rajya Sabha polls. In the early morning raids, 36 teams swooped down upon the residences of MLAs of Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Hazaribagh, Godda, Bihar’s Banka district and Giridih, a CBI official told PTI. The MLAs belong to ruling JMM, Ajsu party and opposition RJD and Congress, he said. The sleuths are also raiding at a place in Kolkata, he said, adding a CBI team is also raiding the premises of one of the independent candidates who was in the fray in elections to the Upper House. On April 21, the CBI had raided the premises of three MLAs, Vishnu Bhaiyya (JMM), K N Tripathy (Congress) and Suresh Paswan (RJD) and independent candidate and industrialist R K Agarwal and his kin. The sleuths of the investigating agency had also seized the ballot box, which was used in the March 30 countermanded elections to Rajya Sabha as part of their probe, on April 21. The agency has registered a case under section 171F (undue influence) and 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant), days after the police and the Income Tax department seized Rs 2.15 crore from a vehicle allegedly belonging to a relative of an independent candidate on the outskirts of Ranchi on poll day. The EC had conducted the fresh biennial elections on May 3 for the two RS seats. Post-FIR, CBI searches Yeddyurappa’s houses A day after filing an FIR against B.S. Yeddyurappa for his alleged role in illegalities in mining, the CBI on Wednesday searched the houses of the former Chief Minister, his immediate kin and close associates in Bangalore and his home district, Shimoga. The CBI also searched the offices of some business firms and trusts run by Mr. Yeddyurappa’s family members in Bangalore and houses/offices of top executives of JSW Steel Ltd; and South West Mining Ltd. (SWML) in Bellary district, official sources told The Hindu. The CBI, in a press release, said it had seized “incriminating” documents during the searches conducted in the three cities as part of the investigation in connection with the case registered against Mr. Yeddyurappa and others under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Karnataka Land (Restriction on Transfer) Act, and Sections 120-B, 420 and 409 of the Indian Penal Code. Around 5.45 a.m. a CBI team went to Mr. Yeddyurappa’s house in the upmarket Dollar Colony in Bangalore and conducted a search, while another team went to his official residence on Race Course Road at 6 a.m. Subsequently, CBI teams searched the offices of Bhagat Homes and Dhavalagiri Properties. Certain documents were seized from the office of Prerana Trust in Seshadripuram. The CBI teams also searched the houses of Mr. Yeddyurappa’s close associates: the former minister S.N. Krishnaiah Setty, the BJP MLA S.R. Vishwanath and Lehar Singh Siroya, MLC. Searches were also conducted at the house/office of mining leaseholder R. Praveen Chandra at Srinagar in Bangalore, the sources said. In Shimoga, a CBI team searched the house of Mr. Yeddyurappa’s daughter B.Y. Arunadevi, a co-director of Prerana Trust, and verified documents for more than five hours. The officials questioned her husband, Uday Kumar, and took him to branches of State Bank of Mysore and SyndicateBank, where Prerana Trust has accounts and lockers. The lockers were opened in the presence of Mr. Uday Kumar, and the CBI officials collected information about the documents and cash deposited there. During the searches in Bellary district, a CBI team visited the SWML office at Torangal and checked documents for over six hours. The team also searched the houses of Vinod Nowal, CEO of JSW Steels Ltd., and Uday Kumar Pandey, CEO of SWML, who were, incidentally, away from Torangal. High court for law to check witch-hunting cases Binita Jaiswal, TNN | May 18, 2012, 07.11AM IST CUTTACK: The Orissa high court asked the state government on Thursday to formulate a special law to check witch-hunting in the state. Division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice S K Mishra said the government should introduce a bill in the legislature to enact a law to tackle the menace of witch-hunting effectively. The bench gave the suggestion while adjudicating on a PIL filed by social activist, Sashiprava Bindhani, seeking introduction of an Act to stop the heinous crime in the state. The bench observed the state should formulate a preventive strategy to eliminate such practices. The petitioner had pointed out many women in the state are being branded witches and tortured brutally. Some are even gangraped and at times smeared with urine and human excreta. The petitioner had cited there is an urgent need to formulate a stringent law that could act as a deterrent to witch-hunting. Due to the absence of any specific law in the state regarding the crime, the accused get away easily, the petitioner added. She pointed out Jharkhand and Bihar have formulated a special law to check witch-hunting, but Odisha is yet to take any concrete step to deal with it. Taking note of the allegations, the high court directed the state government to create public awareness at the gram panchayat level to eradicate the superstitions of witchcraft. The court also suggested health camps should be organized in villages to detect cases of psychologically disordered persons, who claim to be witches. In order to avoid the witnesses turning hostile in such cases, the investigating agency probing into the cases should take steps to record their statement under section 164 of code of criminal procedure, 1973, the court ordered. “The court has observed that along with the main accused, the tantric and the persons, who provoke others to commit such inhuman acts against woman should also be booked and prosecuted under the sections of Indian Penal Code,” said the petitioner’s counsel Sujata Jena. “The court has directed that all the guidelines should be strictly observed by the authorities till a suitable legislation is passed by the state legislature,” Jena added. Punjab and Haryana high court restraint on discretionary quota of ministers TNN | May 18, 2012, 02.35AM IST CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday restrained the Punjab government from releasing discretionary grants on pick-and-choose basis. With this, the state chief minister, deputy chief minister, ministers and chief parliamentary secretaries would not be able to release any grant from their discretionary quota. The stay would continue till July 10. However, the HC clarified that they can release grants by following a transparent procedure, consistent with Article 14 of the Constitution of India, by inviting applications from all concerned persons, and deciding their competitive claims. The orders were passed by a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh while hearing a PIL by advocate H C Arora. “Sanction/release of grants by ministers under discretionary quota on pick-and-choose basis cannot be acceptable to any society governed by rule of law,” the bench observed while issuing the stay orders. The HC asked the state to explain as to whether antecedents of beneficiaries of grants were checked or not. The bench also directed the Punjab government to explain its stand about the procedure, if any, being adopted by the government for verifying the accounts of the beneficiaries as to whether the grants have actually been used for the purpose for which these have been released, as mere submission of utilization certificates is not sufficient to know about the end use of discretionary grants. The petitioner had sought directions for effective safeguards against misuse of discretionary grants being released by CM/deputy CM/ministers and parliamentary secretaries of Punjab. He alleged that grants were being sanctioned/released on pick-and-choose basis, without evaluating the competing claims of various applicants. The case would now come up for hearing on July 10. Crime against women has shot up in WB: NCW chief New Delhi, May 17, 2012 The National Commission for Women (NCW) feels that crime against women has “increased” in West Bengal under the Mamata Banerjee-led government and criticised it for transferring officers who have cracked rape cases even before investigations were completed. NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma said the state government has promised “neutral” investigations in all cases related to crime against women but they are still waiting to see if the promises are kept. “Incidents of crime against women in West Bengal had been increasing gradually before, but the state has witnessed a sudden huge spurt in offences against women under the present government, especially in the last couple of months,” Sharma told PTI in an interview. She said a recent NCW report had showed that increase in reported rape cases in the state was twice the national average. However, she hastened to add that she was “not saying that the state is unsafe for women under Mamata Banerjee”. A three-member NCW team led by member Wansuk Syeim had visited the state last month and in their report took exception to transfers of officers investigating rape cases besides demanding a “neutral” investigation and financial and other assistance to rape victims. The Commission noted with “dismay” the transfer of two key officers involved in investigations of Park Street gang rape case and Bankura case “for reasons best known to the state government”. Banerjee had raked up a controversy after she said a rape case was “cooked up to malign” her government. Drawing government’s attention to the issue, the report quoted an NGO ‘Maitree’ to point out the state recorded the “second highest number of rape cases in the country and it had the lowest conviction rate”. “The findings are shocking. But the alarming statistics are not exclusive to West Bengal alone. Our fact-finding teams have come across a large number of cases in Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh as well,” Sharma claimed. The NCW was closely monitoring the way states handle cases of violence against women, she said, adding the Commission would pull up any state found “callous and insensitive” in its treatment of women. Quoting the NGO, the NCW report pointed out that little girls from the age of seven to women of 72 were subjected to rape, which includes housewives, working women, mentally and physically disabled women, tribal women. “In 44% of cases of gangrape, 39% victims were minor girls, 17% of victims were mentally/physically disabled and 8% rapes happened in hospitals or trains. The accused are still absconding in 44% of cases,” it said. “In 17% of cases, women’s characters, or the veracity of cases were publicly questioned,” the report said. In its observations, the NCW team that went to Bengal said the high incidences of such crimes coupled with a set of unpreparedness among the officers at the level of public contact will actually make the crime nearly risk free business for criminals. “NCW would like to request that investigation into the cases under reference should be conducted neutrally so as to ensure conviction and maximum punishment to the accused in each case,” it said. It also noted that investigators should take ample care to complete the entire investigation in time bound manner. “The routine procedural delays should be avoided. Before the transfer of Investigating Officer to another posting, it is necessary that same officer should help the judicial proceedings in presenting the case on behalf of prosecution,” the report said. NHRC seeks ATR from AP on tribal eviction http://IBNLIVE.IN.COM/NEWS/NHRC-SEEKS-ATR-FROM-AP-ON-TRIBAL-EVICTION/259000-60-114.HTML Express News Service uman Rights Commission has directed the chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh government to submit an action taken report to it over forest officials forcing migrant Adivasis homeless. The commission was moved by Supreme Court advocate and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy who alleged that forest officials had set afire five huts and destroyed other huts of Adivasis (Scheduled tribes) in Burgumpahad mandal in Khammam district and the displaced Adivasis had been running from pillar to post in search of shelter. About 40 tribal families faced demolition by forest officials on March 27 this year at Mothey village near a reserve forest. Leaving their women and children under the open sky, the family heads had been searching for help with little success, Tripathy alleged and requested the NHRC to direct the state government to rehabilitate the families. J&K HC adjourns hearing in encounter case for 2 weeks Srinagar , May 17, 2012 Jammu and Kashmir high court on Thursday adjourned for two weeks the hearing of the alleged fake encounter case involving Army chief-designate General Bikram Singh. Justice Hasnain Masoodi adjourned the hearing of the case as advocate general Mohammad Ishaq Qadri was not available to argue the case. The judge directed that the case be listed after two weeks for hearing, subject to availability of the bench, when the state government and the Union of India will put forth their arguments. The case took a new turn on Wednesday as the petitioner told the high court that the genuineness of the incident was not in doubt but questions on the identity of the assailant remained. Zaffar Qureshi, the counsel for the petitioner, today reiterated his plea for carrying out a DNA test on the body of the man claimed to be Pakistani militant Mateen Chacha. “We are not saying that the militant attack (on the motorcade of the then Brigadier Singh) did not take place. We are seeking reinvestigation of the incident to establish the identity of the person dubbed as a foreign militant and the assailant,” Qureshi said. Gen Singh is due to take over from Gen V K Singh on May 31. HC issues guidelines to curb witchcraft practice PTI | 10:05 PM,May 17,2012 Cuttack, May 17 (PTI) Orissa High Court today directed the state government to spread awareness involving all gram panchayats in order to curb violence arising out of witchcraft practice and black magic. Disposing off a PIL filed by Odisha Rationalist Society, a Division Bench of the High court comprising Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice S K Mishra formulated a guideline to check nuisances created by witchcraft as no such law is prevalent in the state to curb this practice. Asking the state police to register cases under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and prosecute the perpetrators of such practices, the High Court said police should record statements of the accused and witnesses under Section 164 of CrPC. Further the High Court pointed out that all the guidelines set up by it shall be in force until a law to check the menace is enacted. While 38 people are said to have died in Naxal attacks in 2011, the state recorded 58 deaths due to witchcraft linked violence and nearly 300 people have died of it in last five years. In order to curb violence arising out of witchcraft practice, Odisha Rationalist Society had approached the High Court seeking to issue guidelines to eradicate crime in the name of superstitions, blind belief and black magic. PTI COR SKN RG AP HC stays advertisement embargo on Sakshi Group PTI | 09:05 PM,May 17,2012 Hyderabad, May 17 (PTI) In a relief to Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy–owned Sakshi newspaper and television channel, the Andhra Pradesh High Court today granted an interim stay on implementation of the state orders banning government advertisements to the media group. The state government had on May 10 ordered a freeze on releasing advertisements to Sakshi newspaper and Sakshi channel. Based on a petition filed by Jagati Publication, which brings out the vernacular daily and Indira Television, the broadcaster of the Telugu channel, Justice Seshasayana Reddy issued interim stay orders and directed the stat government to file its reply before June 16. According to a Sakshi counsel, the high court observed that the state government order (GO) has not followed the guidelines set for the release of government advertisement to newspapers and channels. Citing the chargesheet filed by CBI against Jagati Publications, the Andhra Pradesh Information and Public Relations Commissioner R V Chandravadan issued an order last week asking the government departments, agencies, public sector undertakings, corporations and organisations to “withhold releasing of advertisements and notifications (to Sakshi group) with immediate effect in public interest”. The government order came in the wake of the CBI, which is probing the disproportionate assets (DA) cases against Jagan, had last week froze the bank accounts of Jagati Publications, Indira Television and Janani Infrastructure–the firms owned by Jagan. PTI GDK NSK HC stays disbursement of discretionary grants till July 10 HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Chandigarh, May 17, 2012 Hearing a public interest litigation alleging misuse of discretionary grants by Punjab chief minister, ministers and chief parliamentary secretaries to various organisations on pick and choose basis, the Punjab and Haryana high court has put stay on their disbursement till July 10. The directions came from the division bench comprising acting chief justice MM Kumar and justice Alok Singh on a public interest litigation filed by advocate HC Arora. The bench stated, “Sanction of grants by ministers under discretionary quota on the basis of pick and choose cannot be acceptable to any society governed by rule of law.” The court said that the Punjab government should explain the procedure, if any, being adopted by it for verifying from the accounts of beneficiaries whether grants had actually been used for the purpose for which these were released. The bench observed that mere submissions of utilisation certificates was not sufficient to know about the end use of the discretionary grants. Going through an affidavit filed by Avtar Singh Mavi, under secretary in department of rural development and panchayats, the bench stated that an under secretary level officer was not expected to give his opinion about the irregularities in release of discretionary grants by higher officials. The court ordered secretary, department of rural development and panchayats, to file a detailed affidavit on the next date of hearing. HC confirms Tota Singh’s bail in official vehicle misuse case Sanjeev Verma , Hindustan Times Chandigarh , May 17, 2012Former Punjab agriculture minister Tota Singh’s bail has been confirmed by the Punjab and Haryana high court in the official vehicle misuse case. He had moved the high court against his conviction and one-year imprisonment awarded by an additional district and sessions court in Mohali for misusing an official vehicle during his stint as the state education minister from 1997-2002. The former minister’s petition challenging the conviction, which was earlier admitted by the high court, will come up for hearing with regular cases as per its turn. Tota Singh’s petition came up for hearing in the court of justice Ritu Bahri. The former minister was granted bail till June 5 by the Mohali trial court on May 5, the day his sentence was pronounced. The Mohali court had found Tota Singh guilty of misusing an official vehicle of Punjab School Education Board, causing a huge loss to the board. However, the court acquitted him of more serious charges of possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. In his bail application, filed in the high court, Tota Singh had mentioned that his appeal petition was likely to take a long time to be heard and he was facing prosecution since 2002. He further added that he had been in custody for two months during the trial followed by bail later and there was no allegation of misuse of bail concession by him. However, in his petition challenging the conviction and sentence awarded to him on the charge that official car number PB27-5105, which was subsequently replaced by car number PB-65-2710 was misused by either by the education minister or his family members, Tota Singh that the trial court had erred in passing the judgment. Tota Singh mentioned that the trial court had given the judgment based on “unfair and tainted investigation”. HC asks insurance firm to pay `1.16 crore to bizman’s widow HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Mumbai, May 18, 2012 Dismissing the appeal filed by the insurance company, the Bombay high court (HC) upheld the order awarding a compensation of over Rs1.16 crore to the widow of a city businessman who died in an accident nine years ago. The income of the legal heir and the money received from other sources cannot be taken into consideration while computing the loss of future income due to the accidental death of an earning family member, the division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice SS Shinde ruled. The court was hearing an appeal by the United India Insurance Company Ltd challenging the order passed by the Mumbai Motor Accident Claims Tribunal on September 30, 2011. In its order, the tribunal had directed the insurance company to pay the wife of deceased businessman Riyaz Varawalla, Sugra, an aggregate sum of Rs69.18 lakh along with an interest at the rate of 8.5% per annum — bringing the total to Rs1.16 crore. The insurance company had contended that the widow had received an insurance amount from the Life Insurance Corporation of India and other credit card companies. The tribunal should have deducted these amounts while calculating her future loss because of her husband’s untimely accidental death, they argued. The high court, however, rejected the contention holding that if the received amount is an outcome of separate contracts and had no direct nexus with the accidental death, it cannot be deducted while computing the future loss of income. The court maintained that the amounts received from credit card companies were a result of other contracts entered into by Varawalla and had no co-relation with the third party insurance in case of an accident. The court also rejected the company’s claim that the tribunal should have taken the woman’s income – as she was a partner in some of the businesses of her husband – into account. The court held that the woman’s earnings could not be taken into consideration to reduce the quantum of loss of annual dependency income on account of the accidental death. HC relief from power bills for Poultry firm HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Mumbai, May 18, 2012In a temporary reprieve for Venkateshwara Hatcheries Pvt Ltd and eight other group companies, the Bombay high court, last week, restrained the Maharashtra Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. (MSEDCL) from recovering electricity charges at commercial rates from the group companies. The division bench of chief justices Mohit Shah and NM Jamdar has asked MSEDCL to bill the group companies as per the industrial tariff plan, while the petition awaits a final hearing. The companies had approached the high court after MSEDCL re-classified the hatcheries group in June 2011, and transferred them from the industrial category to commercial category. The reclassification sent the power bill of the group’s research unit at Kalbhor, Pune up by Rs.15.5 lakh. The group that conducts poultry breeding, hatching and poultry farming in the state moved the high court last month after MSEDCL issued notices seeking payment of arrears purportedly accumulated after applying commercial tariff. The Kalbhor unit, where research and disease diagnosis for breeders and poultry farmers across India is carried out, had contended that the MSEDCL’s act of classifying the research facility as HT-II Commercial category was based on misinterpretation of tariff orders issued by Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). The company has sought to classify the group units under the farming category, contending that hatcheries and research laboratories form an integral part of poultry farming. HC refuses to allow 12-yr delay in appeal against conviction Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri May 18 2012, 02:37 hrs The Gujarat High Court has refused to allow delay of more than 12 years in preferring an appeal against conviction for murder by a convict of Bharuch district. Rejecting the appeal, the court — among other things — considered the fact that the convict was absconding for eight years after being released on furlough. A Sessions Court had awarded life sentence to the petitioner, Ramesh Vasva, in July 1999 for the murder of a girl in January 1996 after she refused to marry him. Vasva was granted furlough in August 2001 after which he absconded. He was caught and brought back to jail in October 2009. In March this year, he moved an appeal against his conviction before the High Court. And to make the appeal maintainable, Vasva moved a petition for condonation of delay of 4,569 days, which the court rejected. To make sure that the refusal to allow the delay does not result in miscarriage of justice, the court heard the convict’s lawyer on the merits of the appeal. “Considering the totality of the facts, we are of the view that there is no merit in the appeal. Under these circumstances, if the delay of 4,569 days in preferring the appeal, for which not only sufficient cause is not shown by the applicant but undue advantage is also taken by him, is not condoned, it would not result into miscarriage of justice and no useful purpose would be served in taking too lenient view for delay and then to consider the merits of the appeal,” the court observed recently. The court also observed that the “question of condonation of delay in statuary appeals in conviction, more particularly the conviction under Section 302 of IPC, is viewed very liberally, and normally courts do not refuse to exercise the discretion to condone the delay”. Delhi HC rejects Air India pilots’ plea, strike continues New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal by the Indian pilots guild challenging the single-judge order that had restrained the pilots of Air India from going on strike, terming it as illegal. The High Court said that the plea of the striking pilots “cannot be entertained as they are guilty of contempt”. The decision by the single-judge bench was upheld by a division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kail and Justice Rajiv Shakdher. Hearing a plea by Air India, Justice Reva Khetrapal had on May 9 restrained over 100 pilots, owing allegiance to the IPG, from continuing the strike over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression. The IPG had on Wednesday told the court that the single-judge had passed the ex-parte injunction order without authority. However, speaking about the development, IPG president Jitendra Awhad clarified that they had not appealed to the High Court against declaring their strike illegal. He further said, “We did not go on record to say anything on strike. We have all our doors open.” The IPG president also attacked the Air India management, pointing that the Supreme Court had told the management to sit and sort out the issue, but not a single person from AI management represented it in the media. Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Ministry has accused the pilots of causing massive financial losses. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has told Parliament that the Vigilance Department is investigating 161 cases of irregularities. The Ministry has accepted that there has been an increase in the number of pilots and cabin crew reporting to work with alcohol levels more than the permissible limit. It also says pilots allegedly pocketed over Rs 2 crore in inflated flying allowance and productivity-linked incentives. Ajit Singh has also said that he will call a meeting of all the recognised unions of Air India next week to discuss the issues of promotions and career progression. HC transparency rider on release of discretionary fund Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri May 18 2012, 03:53 hrs The Punjab government has been restrained from releasing the discretionary grants of the chief minister, ministers and parliamentary secretaries. It can sanction discretionary grants now only through a transparent procedure – by inviting applications from all concerned persons and deciding their competitive claims. Directions to this effect were passed on Thursday by a Punjab and Haryana High Court division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by a lawyer, H C Arora. Alleging that grants were being sanctioned on `pick-and-choose’ basis, without evaluating the competing claims of various applicants, Arora had sought the introduction of effective safeguards against misuse of the funds being released by the CM, other ministers and the parliamentary secretaries. “Sanction or release of grants by ministers under discretionary quota on the basis of pick and choose cannot be acceptable to any society governed by rule of law,” the Bench ruled while passing the directions. Earlier, Avtar Singh Mavi, Under Secretary to government of Punjab, Department of Rural Development and Panchyats, filed an affidavit in the court. After reading the affidavit, the Bench observed that an officer of Under Secretary level cannot be expected to give his opinion about the irregularities in sanction of discretionary grants by the higher officials. Referring to the contents of the affidavit, the Bench observed that detailed report should be filed by Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, giving the details about the persons who sanctioned such grants. “He should also explain as to whether antecedents of beneficiaries of the grants were checked or not” the court ordered, while directed Punjab to explain its stand about the procedure, if any, being adopted to verify whether the grants have actually been used for the purpose for which they were released. The directions have come as an embarrassment for the Parkash Singh Badal-led dispensation, which earlier faced flak after the Accountant General (audit) had found irregularities in the way discretionary grants were being sanctioned in Punjab. Kerala HC awaits govt move on mediation case fee waiver Mahir Haneef, TNN | May 18, 2012, 07.00AM IST KOCHI: Kerala high court is awaiting action from the state government to waive court fee for cases being settled through mediation, Justice S Siri Jagan said on Thursday. Talking at a seminar on ‘Role of Mediation in Settling Disputes’ at Ayyampilly, Justice Siri Jagan, who is the governing body member of high court’s mediation arm Kerala State Mediation and Conciliation Centre (KSMCC), said the proposal to amend the law regarding court fee waiver has been submitted to the government and action is awaited. Court fee ranges from Rs 150 per person for a writ petition to lakhs of rupees on disputes related to contracts, real estate, and movies. Though the central government has already effected a 100% waiver of court fee for parties settling disputes through mediation, the concerned law hasn’t been amended by the state government yet for the process of mediation to go into full swing. Justice Siri Jagan said, “KSMCC has written to the government that court fee for cases settled through mediation should be completely refunded and amendment in legislation should be done for that. We firmly believe that such a law should be brought in without much delay.” The high court recommended for giving a 100% waiver for court fee around three months ago, with a view to bring down the number of cases pending at courts. Role of mediation in settling disputes came to the forefront in Kerala recently, after the dispute between two church factions at Kolenchery was defused through mediation. According to the present rules, court has the power to refund 50% of court fee if parties settle their dispute through mediation. Unlike normal instruments of law available to petitioners such as writ or original petition, court fee in disputes related to contracts are fixed by a percentage of the total contract value. Court fee for contract disputes are fixed on a slab basis, with fee from each slab adding on to the base rate of court fee as contract value goes up. Court fee for a contract worth Rs 15,000 is charged at 4% while the rate goes up to 8% when the value becomes Rs 50,000. For contracts ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh, court fee at present is 10% whereas contracts from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 10 million are charged at 8%. Contracts above Rs 10 million and above are charged at 1%. Permanent judge of HC Express News Service CUTTACK: Additional Judge of the Orissa High Court Justice Bira Kishore Mishra was sworn in as the permanent judge here on Thursday. Chief Justice V Gopalagowda administered the oath of office to him in the presence of judges and members of the Bar. HC dismisses medicos’ petition against NBE Last Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 15:18 Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has dismissed a city-based medical student’s petition against the National Board of Examinations’ (NBE) decision denying him admission to Diploma National Course in Radiology. The first advertisement for the course which was to commence from August 2009 was given on June 14, 2009. There was no response to the said advertisement due to spread of swine flu in Pune. For the NBE, the last date to enrol for the seat was August 14, 2009. The second advertisement for the said vacant post was given on August 22, 2009, by Pune-based Lokmanya Medical Foundation which conducts the course. Thus, the advertisement was given after the due date of enrollment. Pursuant to the advertisement, the petitioner filled up the form. Though cut-off date was August 17, 2009, he joined the course on September 10, 2009. Thus, there was a delay of 23 days. The NBE objected to it and refused the registration of the petitioner for the DNB (Diploma in National Board) course through its letters of February 5, 2010 and February 22, 2010. The petitioner had challenged the communication in the petition and the Court had ordered status-quo as of that date (March 22, 2010), to be maintained. It continued till date. Hemant Surve along with A J Kandharkar, who appeared for the petitioner, argued that it was not the fault of the student for which he has to suffer in his career. After the advertisement, the petitioner had responded promptly and was admitted for the course. He was not informed that the admission was provisional and hence the decision to refuse registration was unjust, they submitted. Girish Kulkarni along with Sandeep Waghmare on behalf of the institute admitted that the advertisement was issued after the due date of the enrolment mentioned by National Board of Examinations. They submitted that all admissions for the DNB course are provisional till these are approved and registered by National Board of Examinations. They further said that after the first advertisement there was no response from the candidates due to swine flu and therefore after the first advertisement the institute had to issue second advertisement to fill up the vacant post. The counsel said that the application of the petitioner was forwarded by the institute with a request for registration which could have been considered by the Board. Counsel for the National Board of Examinations categorically stated that there was a public notice issued by the Board on April 2, 2009, wherein the last date of the enrolment for DNB seat was mentioned as August 14, 2009. He drew the attention of the Court to the guidelines laid down by the National Board of Examinations in respect of the admissions and the enrolment. The Counsel said that public notice of April 2, 2009 gives a time-bound programme framed by National Board of Examinations. There is a reference of prescribed guidelines. Clause 6 states that August 14, 2009 was the last date of enrolment. Clauses 14 and 17 state that mere joining a college is not sufficient, but grant of registration number by National Board of Examinations is a condition precedent for valid registration to DNB programme. “Thus the decision to refuse registration cannot be said beyond the direction or guidelines set by the Board especially in the light of specific declaration of the last date of enrolment,” observed Justice Mridula Bhatkar and Justice S A Bobade recently while dismissing the petition. HC warning for Air India pilots Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times New Delhi, May 17, 2012AI standoff: Govt softens stand, calls meeting next weekThe Delhi high court on Thursday threatened agitating Air India pilots with contempt of court for “flagrant” defiance of its order to end the strike. The pilots had moved court against the HC’s May 9 declaration that the strike was illegal. “No litigant can avail of any discretionary remedy from the court by willfully and flagrantly disobeying the orders of the court,” the bench said, adding that it was open to initiating contempt proceedings. HC guidelines to deal with witchcraft Express News Service CUTTACK: Expressing concern over the rise in atrocities and killings on the superstition of witchcraft, the Orissa High Court has issued a set of guidelines to deal with the menace. A Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra has directed that the guidelines be strictly followed by the authorities till a suitable legislation is passed by the State Government. The State Government shall introduce an appropriate Bill in the Legislature within one year, the Bench ordered. The guidelines stipulate that whosoever forces a woman to drink or eat inedible or obnoxious substances on the allegation that she is a witch shall be punished under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). No one can call anyone a witch or being possessed. If atrocities are committed on such basis and any person uses force to evict the victim from her house, the perpetrators will be dealt with harshly under IPC. The authorities shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with the law by lodging complaint in the police station. The authorities shall also prevent any person from acting as ‘tantric’ or a witch doctor in the area and performing ritual to exorcise anyone from the evil spirit or conducting any other ritual on behalf of any person with the intention to harm. The person shall be prosecuted under the IPC. The investigating agency in cases, involving allegations of witchcraft in order to avoid witnesses turning hostile, shall get their statements recorded under Section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the court ruled. It stated that the directions were not exhaustive and should be followed by a comprehensive legislation. Public awareness programmes should be launched in the villages to eradicate the superstition of witchcraft. Health camps should also be organised to detect the psychologically-fragile which often leads to false accusations of one being witch or possessed. The directions came in response to two PILs seeking enactment of a law and issuing of guidelines by the Government to tackle witchcraft. The court had earlier completed hearing and reserved its order. One of the petitioners Sashiprava Bindhani had submitted that women were not only victimised and ostracised on accusations of being witches, they were also subjected to gruesome torture and humiliation. Between 2007 and 2011, more than 20 killings had taken place in the State. While neighbouring states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have enacted strong laws, the Odisha Government is yet to take the social evil seriously, she alleged. Bombay High Court says chastity is not held property Published: Friday, May 18, 2012, 9:00 IST By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday observed that “chastity cannot be treated as property” while granting anticipatory bail to a man accused of cheating and raping a woman after promising to marry her. Vacation judge AM Thipsay was hearing an application filed by Girish Mhatre, 27, who works with Central Railways. “The applicant and the complainant were in a relationship since 2007. The FIR, dated April 4, was filed because the applicant (Mhatre) married some other girl. The complainant was a consensual party to the relationship. Hence, bail cannot be refused,” Thipsay said. Mhatre had to pay a surety of Rs25,000. Mhatre approached the high court after the woman lodged a complaint with the police under sections 376 (rape) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code. The court questioned booking Mhatre under section 420, which pertains to dishonestly inducing a person into giving away his/her property to another. “A judgment of another high court says chastity is property. I don’t agree with it. The lady could have refused to do those acts before marriage,” said Thipsay. The judge’s observation is prima facie and only to decide if the man’s custodial interrogation is required. However, this can be used as a precedent at the stage of anticipatory bail in such cases. Senior advocate Ashok Mundargi said that prima facie there cannot be cheating in a case when both involved are adults. “There is a subtle difference between cheating and breach of promise. When a couple is no longer compatible in a relationship and one of them breaks it, it cannot be termed as cheating,” he said. “Whether there is cheating involved or not will depend on the trial’s outcome,” said advocate Sayaji Nangre. “Investigation will be carried out and then, a charge sheet will be filed. The trial court will decide whether there was cheating and rape.” Mhatre’s application states that he and the woman were in a “platonic and friendly” relationship since 2007. However, the woman and her friend from a local mahila mandal had been forcing him to marry her. His application read: “When the applicant (Mhatre) refused, the complainant threatened to commit suicide. Her friend also threatened to break up Mhatre’s sister’s marriage. The duo forced Mhatre to sign a stamp paper dated February 11, 2011, saying he would marry the complainant within a year.” It further stated that when Mhatre married a girl chosen by his family in November 2011, the complainant got angry and approached the police. High court respite for Sakshi Telugu daily and Sakshi TV TNN | May 18, 2012, 02.25AM IST HYDERABAD: Justice B Seshasayana Reddy of the AP high court on Thursday suspended the recent GO issued by the state government stopping advertisements to Sakshi Telugu daily and Sakshi TV. The judge made this interim order after hearing two petitions filed by Jagati Publications which prints Sakshi and Indira Television, the operator of Sakshi TV. The government cited the guidelines as envisaged by the GO MS No 403, issued in 1992, in support of its decision to withhold advertisements to Sakshi. However, the decision of the state in this regard was contrary to the very guidelines, the judge said. The GO cited the ongoing CBI probe against Jagati as another reason for its decision. The judge observed that the state failed to prove that Sakshi violated any of the guidelines. It simply referred to the guidelines without elaborating how they were violated, D V Sitarama Murthy, the counsel for Sakshi said. The judge, too, found it objectionable and said that stopping ads at this stage would put the paper to an irreparable loss. Directing the state to file its counter, the judge posted the case to June 16 for further hearing. In a separate development, Justice B Chandra Kumar posted to May 22, the petition filed by Jagati and others, challenging the freezing of their accounts by CBI. While Sakshi counsel said that as many 20,000 employees were dependent on the paper, CBI counsel informed the court that there were only 4457 employees working with the paper. The CBI counsel cited labour department figures as proof of his contention. The judge directed the petitioners to furnish the details of employees and the income and expenditure and posted the case to May 22. Meanwhile, the CBI special court took cognizance of the second chargesheet in the Jagan assets case. It will be treated as a supplementary chargesheet. Its copies would be supplied to all the accused, including Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, on May 28 along with the first chargesheet. The court also directed its staff to furnish a copy of the chargesheet to the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

LEGAL NEWS 17.05.2012

Rights case: Haryana officials admit wrongdoing before Lokayukta

Anita Singh, TNN | May 17, 2012, 02.33AM IST

PANIPAT: IAS officer Rajiv Ranjan and HCS officer Shakti Singh on Wednesday admitted before the Lokayukta at Chandigarh that they had furnished wrong information related to a case that was registered against trade unionist P P Kapoor in connection with a protest organised by his trade union in Panipat in 2005.

Two inquiries — first by ADC Panipat and then by Rohtak divisional commissioner — had confirmed that Rajiv Ranjan, who was posted as deputy commissioner Panipat at that time and Capt Shakti Singh, who held the charge of SDM Panipat, had submitted false reports to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that no case was pending against P P Kapoor pertaining to vandalising of a local factory during a protest organised by his trade union in 2005.

Kapoor, who had to undergo imprisonment after his trade union held a protest outside a local factory, had approached the NHRC pleading that he was being victimised for raising the voice in favour of the labourers.

However, when the NHRC sought details about the case registered against Kapoor, the district administration stated that no case was ever registered against Kapoor, thus making the commission close Kapoor’s case.

Kapoor exposed the district officials’ wrongdoing through Right to Information Act on January 7, 2011 and lodged a complaint with Lokayukta that the two top district officials had furnished wrong information to the apex rights body.

On Wednesday, appearing before the Lokayukta, Capt Shakti Singh filed a written reply stating that he was under tremendous work pressure and had verbally asked from the concerned SHO and Panipat labour officer if any case was registered against Kapoor.

Rajiv Ranjan, who also filed his reply before the Lokayukta, said he had believed the report submitted by Shakti Singh to be true and forwarded the same to NHRC.

Meanwhile, following the replies filed by the two officials, the state Lokayukta adjourned the hearings in the case till July 9, when the case would be again taken up by the Lokayukta.

Speaking to TOI, Kapoor demanded strict action against the two officials for furnishing wrong information to the NHRC due to which he had to undergo imprisonment.







Kin of road mishap victim awarded Rs 13 lakh compensation

Agencies : New Delhi, Thu May 17 2012, 16:58 hrs

Family members of a businessman, mowed down by a rashly-driven truck early this year, have been awarded a compensation of around Rs 14 lakh by a road mishap tribunal.

Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) President Dinesh Bhatt directed Oriental Insurance Company Ltd, with which the offending truck was insured, to pay Rs 13,78,745 to the wife, five children and the mother of deceased Saleem.

“In view of the unrebutted version of Saleem’s wife and documents available on record, it is prima facie proved that deceased died due to rash and negligent driving of the truck driver,” the tribunal said.

Vishwas Nagar resident Saleem, 39, had died in a road accident involving the truck, being driven by one Rahish Pal in Tahirpur area on January 31 this year.

The incident took place when Saleem, an automobile shop owner, was on his way back home from Model Town on his motorcycle.

He was hit by the truck near Wazirabad Road from behind and came under its wheels. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared “brought dead.”

The driver and the owner of the truck denied negligence on their part and said they were falsely implicated in the case.

The tribunal, however, ordered payment of compensation to victim’s family on the basis testimonies of eye witnesses who said the offending truck was being driven rashly.







Tejinder files fresh plea

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu May 17 2012, 00:55 hrs

Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh sought to convince the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that the reputation of a person is a facet of his right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Seeking action against Army Chief V K Singh and four other officers for allegedly issuing a defamatory press release accusing him of bribery, Singh sought to persuade the court that his writ petition was maintainable in law since it involved injuring his right to reputation and hence breaching his fundamental right.

His counsel Anil K Aggarwal also filed a fresh application and argued that under the Army Rules, no communication could emanate from the Army without sanction of the government. “In the present case, there is admittedly no sanction from the government while the damning press release was issued,” he said.









Aarushi murder: SC reserves order on Nupur’s plea

New Delhi, May 16, 2012

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on dentist Nupur Talwar’s plea seeking a review of its order of allowing her criminal prosecution in the twin murder case of her daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.
A bench of Justice AK Patnaik and Justice JS Khehar reserved the order after hearing extensively the contentions of Nupur and CBI.

In a last-ditch effort to convince the apex court to review its order, the dentist pleaded she was not asking for a clean chit in the murder case but wanted a direction to CBI to reinvestigate the case.

Fourteen-year-old Aarushi was found dead with her throat slit at her Noida residence on the intervening night of May 15 and 16, 2008, while Hemraj’s body was recovered from the terrace of the house the next day.

Aarushi’s mother is now in in judicial custody while her father Rajesh Talwar is out on bail. The case for their trial in the twin murder case is pending at a Ghaziabad sessions court.

The apex court bench had earlier termed as “premature” the arguments of Nupur Talwar for quashing of proceedings against her on the basis of alleged lacunae in evidence in the twin murder case.

It had also said the magistrate, who ordered Nupur’s prosecution, should have exercised restraint while passing the order.

It questioned as to why the magistrate passed such an extensive order which on some issues was not in conformity with the evidence in the case.

CBI, however, had justified the order saying there is nothing wrong in giving the reasoning for dismissing the closure report in the case and to prosecute Talwars.










HC directs Mohali DC to check illegal construction

Express news service : Chandigarh, Thu May 17 2012, 02:55 hrs

Taking serious note of alleged unauthorised constructions in Derabassi, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday directed the Mohali deputy commissioner to take immediate action and ensure that building norms are not flouted.

The directions were passed by a division bench on a public interest litigation seeking directions to stop unauthorised and illegal construction in khasra number 215 situated within the revenue estate of Madhopur village in the Derabassi tehsil as the entire area of these khasras, the PIL adds, would obstruct the free flow of water from the Shivalik Hills during rainy season which could cause floods in the area.

Taking stock, the High Court directed DC, Mohali to take immediate action and if need be, initiate criminal action against the miscreants.











Genuineness of encounter not in doubt, J&K HC told

Srinagar , May 16, 2012

The alleged fake encounter case involving Army chief-designate General Bikram Singh on Wednesday took a new turn as the petitioner told the Jammu and Kashmir high court that the genuineness of the incident was not in doubt but questions on identity of the assailant remained.
“We are not saying that the militant attack (on the motorcade of the then Brigadier Singh) did not take place. We are seeking reinvestigation of the incident to establish the identity of the person dubbed as a foreign militant and the assailant,” counsel for the petitioner advocate Zaffar Qureshi told the high court.

Gen Singh is due to take over from Gen VK Singh on May 31.

Zaituna, a woman from Kalaroos in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, has filed a petition before the High Court claiming that the slain man dubbed as Hizbul Mujahideen militant Mateen Chacha was her son Abdullah Bhat.

As per the Army stand, a militant disguised as beggar fired indisciminately on Singh and his entourage at Janglat Mandi in Anantnag district town of south Kashmir on March 1, 2001. The troops fired back in self-defence resulting in the death of the assailant who was identified by police as Mateen Chacha, a resident of Pakistan.

One Army officer, an army jawan and two civilians were also killed in the incident, in which General Singh who was then commanding 1 sector Rashtriya Rifles in south Kashmir, was injured and flown to Delhi.

A PIL was also filed in the Supreme Court last month challenging the appointment of Gen Singh as the next Army chief, citing the 2001 fake encounter case among other issues. It was however dismissed by the apex court.











GPS in autos: High court reserves order

TNN | May 17, 2012, 01.02AM IST

NEW DELHI: Defending its decision to ask autorickshaw drivers to collect 50paise/km from passengers to fund installation of GPS/GIPS devices, the state government on Wednesday argued that it had powers under the Motor Vehicles Act to levy a surcharge on passenger fares.

After hearing the arguments, a division bench comprising acting chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw reserved orders on a PIL challenging the government’s decision to implement these devices on autorickshaws.

Earlier HC had asked the government to explain the rationale behind permitting autorickshaw owners/drivers to charge this amount from passengers. “How can you ask commuters to pay this amount? Why make them your collection agent without their consent,” the bench had asked.

HC was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the government’s notification demanding Rs 15,000 from auto drivers for installing GPS systems. The petitioners argued they can’t be forced to pay the amount for GPS installation as they are daily wage earners and it would harm their livelihood. The petitioners, including auto drivers, contend the government’s decision is a violation of their fundamental right of livelihood.

Last year the government has issued a notification which authorized the government to collect extra money for setting up a Control Centre Room for installing GPS/GPRS on the vehicle for better service, security and customer convenience.

Arguing before HC on Wednesday, the petitioners pointed out that as per the original plan GPS systems were to be fitted by April 2011 and the government had agreed to bear half the cost of installation. However, not a single pilot project has been completed and the authorities are still in the process of ensuring implementation.










Take action against ‘quacks’, HC reiterates

Express news service : Allahabad, Thu May 17 2012, 04:51 hrs

The Allahabad High Court today directed the chief secretary and principal secretary (Medical Health) of the state government to comply with its earlier orders in which it had prohibited unauthorised, unregistered and unqualified persons from practising modern medicine.

A Division Bench, led by Justice Sunil Ambwani, also directed the chief medical officers and the district magistrates across the state to carry out raids against those claiming to have degrees in homeopathy, unani, ayurveda, siddha and tibbi medicines, but practicing modern medicines.

“Where it is found that the persons having (such) qualifications. were practicing modern medicines and operating patients and conducting surgeries, the concerned CMOs and DMs will immediately initiate prosecution against the offenders by lodging FIRs against them,” said the court.

It also told the authorities concerned to take action against clinics indulging in illegal sex determination tests.

The court passed the order while hearing a contempt petition filed by one Rajesh Srivastava, in which it was alleged that the authorities concerned were not doing enough to weed out quacks. The court directed the principal secretary (medical health) to file a compliance report on July 13, the next date of hearing.









Uranium in water: Punjab and Haryana high court seeks details on RO systems

TNN | May 17, 2012, 02.32AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday asked Punjab government to furnish details before the court about the total number of reverse osmosis (RO) systems installed in some parts of the state to reduce uranium contamination in drinking water, and how many of them are in working condition.

The HC has also asked the Punjab government to inform about steps taken for maintenance of these ROs and to what percentage they are helpful in cleaning water. The directions were given by a division bench headed by acting Chief Justice M M Kumar during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions for adequate relief to affected people and kids due to discharge of uranium in water and soil of some parts of Punjab.

When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday before the bench, Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) informed that difference in uranium level in various countries depends upon climatic conditions and every country has different standards to measure it. HC had asked BARC to inform why World Health Organization (WHO) has fixed the level of uranium in drinking water for 15 parts per billon but India has fixed it as 60 parts/billion.

BARC counsel Onkar Singh Batalvi also submitted an affidavit stating that concentration of uranium in the water of Malwa region in Punjab could not be the reason for prevalence of cancer disease in the area. BARC also submitted that reverse osmosis (RO) system is helpful in reducing 99% uranium content from drinking water in various parts of Punjab.

The matter had reached before the HC through a PIL filed by Mohali resident Brijender Singh Loomba who had sought directions for adequate relief to affected people and kids due to discharge of uranium in water and soil of Bathinda, Faridkot and Ludhiana districts of Punjab. Now the case would come up for further hearing on May 24.









Top Haryana Staff Selection Commission appointments under HC scanner

TNN | May 17, 2012, 02.34AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Appointment of chairman and members of Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) allegedly in non-transparent manner and without following procedure has now come under the scanner of the Punjab and Haryana high court, which on Monday issued notices to all the appointees and the state government.

The matter reached through a public interest litigation (PIL) that also alleged how the only woman member facing criminal charges was also appointed.

The division bench headed by acting Chief Justice M M Kumar took the cognizance and issued notice after hearing the PIL filed by one RTI activist, Victor Robinson from Hisar.

Petitioner submitted that the Haryana government had appointed Vijay Kumar as chairman, HSSC and Viney Sharma (woman member), Ashok Kumar Jain and Ram Saran Bhola in October 2011 as members of the commission while adopting pick and choose policy.

Petitioner submitted that these appointments have been made by the state without following any transparent and just procedure.

The no search committee has ever been formed to invite applications or to consider the names of eminent persons in different streams of life for appointment to the post of chairman and member to the Haryana Staff Selection Commission.

The state failed to take any penal action of suitable candidates equal to the three times the number of vacancies. It was also submitted that one of the appointed woman member namely Viney Sharma is facing trial under various Sections of the IPC for cheating and others at a local court in Yamunanagar.

The petitioner has sought notifications issued by the general administration department, notifying the appointment of the chairman and members of HSSC for being illegal and arbitrary in view of the judgment of the full bench of this Punjab and Haryana high court in Salil Sabhlok versus Union of India and others wherein certain guidelines have been issued to the state of Punjab and Haryana for the purpose of ensuring transparency in making appointments to such posts.

Directions has also been sought to frame appropriate rules, for the purpose of making appointment on the post of charirman and members of the HSSC,as at present there is criteria to make such appointments. The case would come up for further hearing on May 31







PIL filed against ‘uneven’ property tax system in HC

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

The much-debated new property tax regime recently passed by the civic body has now come under the scanner of the Bombay high court.

Political activist Rajendra Phanse has moved court, challenging the capital value-based regime and contending that it is uneven. He has also sought implementation of property tax reforms mandated by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

“The present property tax hike is unequal and is meting out injustice to certain property-owners in the city,” states the petition, filed by the 54-year-old Phanse, general secretary of Thane-based political party Darmarajya Paksha, through advocate VP Patil.

Under the new tax regime, owners of properties in old buildings and in prime areas will end up paying a significantly higher tax. Taxes on commercial properties will also be up to three times higher.

According to Phanse’s PIL, owners of commercial properties in uptown areas such as Cuffe Parade, Nariman Point and Napean Sea Road, as well as new business centres such as Worli, Lower Parel, Bandra and Andheri, will end up paying property tax that is 25% higher than prevailing rates in cities such as neighbouring Navi Mumbai.

According to the new regime, residential properties with carpet area of 500 sq ft or less would be exempted from tariff rise. However, properties in old residential buildings with carpet area of 500 sq feet or more would be charged up to two times their current tax rates.

The PIL contends that this hike is uneven, as around 7.4 lakh properties with areas admeasuring 500 square feet or less would be completely exempt from the hike and 2.75 lakh owners of properties with area admeasuring more than 500 square feet will have to pay more.

The petitioner has also sought directions to the civic body to implement tax reforms mandated by JNNURM, saying that though the civic body has been receiving financial aid from the state as well as the central government under the scheme, it has neglected implementation of tax reforms stipulated under it.

The scheme, aimed at encouraging reforms in civic administration and fast tracking planned development of identified cities has been introduced by the central government in 2005 and though it has reached the fag end – it will complete its seven-year mission period in December 2012 — the civic body has not bothered to adopt property tax reforms, the PIL argues.

The PIL has been posted for hearing on June 16.












HC asks Punjab to report on effectiveness of ROs

Sanjeev Verma , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh , May 16, 2012

Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to submit a detailed report within a week about the effectiveness of Reverse Osmosis (RO) system plants to filter out uranium content from the groundwater in Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot and Ferozepur districts.
A division bench comprising acting chief justice MM Kumar and justice Alok Singh issued the directions during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by advocate BS Loomba to seek effective steps to check uranium content in Punjab groundwater.

The presence of uranium in groundwater is said to be one of the main causes of cancer among residents in Malwa belt of Punjab.

The state was directed that the report should be submitted by an officer not below the rank of secretary water supply and sewerage board. In case the state failed to submit the report, the high court said, it would ask lawyers from Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot and Ferozepur for their reports.

The bench also directed the state to inform whether the RO plants installed in various parts of the state were filtering water as per the permissible limits and whether they were catering to the entire area or only select areas.

Loomba informed the bench that since 1977 there was no mechanism to check the flow of uranium in the form of ash from Bathinda thermal power plant and that probably uranium was getting back into the groundwater. On this, the bench also issued direction to the state to inform what steps had been taken to check the same and also measures adopted for disposal of uranium.

The case would now come up for hearing on May 24.











HC: Use police to get Tiwari blood sample

Express news service : New Delhi, Thu May 17 2012, 00:31 hrs

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued an order allowing use of police force to bring defiant veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari to the court for taking his blood sample for the DNA test to decide the paternity suit of a man claiming to be his son.

“Joint Registrar (JR) shall be entitled to avail police assistance in case the defendant number one (Tiwari) is not available within the jurisdiction of this court. The JR shall seek the police assistance for bringing him in this court for the purpose of taking the blood sample for the DNA test,” said Justice Reva Khetrapal.

The court fixed the matter for further hearing on May 21 before the Joint Registrar, who will fix the date for collection of the blood sample from Tiwari.

The court said considering Tiwari’s age, the order of taking the blood sample is required to be implemented as expeditiously as possible otherwise an “irreparable loss is bound to visit the plaintiff”. The directions came on the plea of Rohit Shekhar, 33, who has sought a judicial declaration that Tiwari is his biological father.










No urgency in taking up case against Eenadu: HC

TNN | May 17, 2012, 07.59AM IST

HYDERABAD: The vacation bench of the high court on Wednesday adjourned to June a public interest writ petition seeking a direction to the government not to release any advertisements to Ushodaya Enterprises, publishers of Eenadu newspaper. The petition filed by Boorla Ramaswamy , a retired professor, and another person contends that that the release of advertisements to the media house was contrary to a government order which had placed a ban on funds to media that are ‘anti-national , communal abusive and with admitted stances.’

The Eenadu group has a declared policy of being against a political party (the Congress) and therefore in view of the admitted stance, it stood disqualified from receiving advertisements from the government, the petitioners charged. The bench observed that there was no urgency to take up a case of this kind in the vacation court. Sunil Reddy’s plea adjourned: A division bench of the high court adjourned to next week the writ appeal filed by former SEZ consultant Sunil Reddy against the order of a single judge quashing the order of pardon granted in his favour by the criminal court. The sessions court had granted pardon to the consultant who is said to be caught in the crossfire between two warring senior IPS officers, Umesh Kumar and DGP Dinesh Reddy.

The order was challenged successfully by senior IPS Officer Umesh Kumar before a single judge. The matter is now likely to be listed on May 23 before a bench of Justice B Seshasayana Reddy and Justice B Chandra Kumar. Relief for real estate company: Justice B Chandra Kumar of the high court on Wednesday permitted a real estate company Akshaya Gold to operate its accounts but made clear that all cheques issued by it would go through the supervision of the SP of Praksam district. Vijay Sai counsel seeks time: The petition filed by CBI seeking cancellation of bail granted by the special court in favour of Vijay Sai Reddy will now be taken up next Wednesday. Justice B Chandra Kumar of the high court adjourned to next week the CBI petition seeking cancellation of bail granted to the accused in the Jagan assets case. The adjournment was after counsel for Vijay Sai Reddy sought time till the next week for his response to the application.

In a separate development , the judge adjourned to Thursday the three petitions filed challenging the order of the special court which had refused to re-activate the bank accounts of the three companies of YS Jaganmohan Reddy that were frozen by the CBI. The companies – Jagati, Janani and Indira moved the HC challenging the order as illegal and contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.











Kerala HC gets special bench for self-finance college cases

Mahir Haneef, TNN | May 17, 2012, 05.12AM IST

KOCHI: When the Kerala high court reopens after summer vacation on Monday, it will have a special bench to hear cases related to self-financing colleges.

The new bench comprising justice K M Joseph and justice K Harilal will hear cases related to self-financing professional colleges, which include matters like admission, seat-sharing, fixation of fees, affiliation and other similar cases.

The self-financing bench will hear writ petitions and original petitions related to self-financing colleges, which are normally moved by dissatisfied students, parents or colleges when the academic year begins.

At present, the time taken by HC to dispose such cases extends to many months, with litigants having to wait for four months to settle disputes. Each year, hundreds of petitions are filed challenging conduct of examinations, interference by government, affiliation issues, defects in examination and evaluation, fixation of fees and admission. Despite the high number of cases related to self-financing colleges, HC didn’t have a special bench to hear such cases. This had often led to dismissal of petitions as infructuous as the situation would have changed in such a way that the intervention sought by petitioners wouldn’t benefit in the changed scenario.

“But, a division bench hearing self-financing cases directly violates a basic principles in the judiciary,” said George Poonthottam, a prominent lawyer dealing with education cases. “If the single judge goes wrong, there must be a mechanism by which it’s corrected by the division bench. Instead, as a corrective step, a division bench exercising original jurisdiction is not a healthy trend.”










HC asks CBI to produce case diary of Gopalgarh violence

TNN | May 17, 2012, 05.44AM IST

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday asked the investigating officer of CBI to appear before the court with the case diary of Gopalgarh violence on May 19. The directive came on a petition filed by one Shafi Mohammad, who demanded that the probe of Gopalgarh incident should be handed over to the National Investigative Agency (NIA). The order was issued by Justice Mahesh Chand Sharma.

Earlier, the CBI, in its chargesheet did not name former collector Krishna Kunal and former SP Hinglaj Dan as accused which was opposed by the Meo Muslim community, especially those who lost their kin in the case. Ten persons had lost their lives in the clash which took place in Gopalgarh town on September 14, 2011.

“The dead people belong to our community and their bodies were thrown into the well after being burnt. Likewise, the then collector Krishna Kunal had given his statement to CBI that several leaders like Kirori Lal Meena, Naseer Ali Naquvi had misled the people of Meo community and they filed FIRs against the officials after 11 days of the incident. No policeman, however, sustained bullet injuries. And the CBI conducted a one-sided probe,” the petitioner alleged.











HC refuses to restrain Sachin from taking oath as RS member

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to restrain cricketer Sachin Tendulkar from taking oath as a Rajya Sabha member on a PIL seeking quashing of his nomination to the Upper House.

The court, however, asked the Centre to respond to the PIL by July 4, the next date of hearing.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw dismissed the application for stay of Sachin’s oath ceremony, but asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Chandhiok to seek instructions from the government and inform the court by the next date of hearing on the PIL.

“How is this sports category covered while nominating a sportsperson to the Rajya Sabha?” the bench queried and asked the ASG to reply on this issue.

Mr. Chandhiok argued that the power has been exercised by the President of India and the court cannot interfere in the matter.

The petitioner Ram Gopal Singh Sisodia, a former Delhi MLA, had challenged the nomination on the ground that Sachin does not possess any of the qualifications prescribed under Article 80 of the Constitution for being nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate R K Kapoor submitted that the Constitution allowed the government to select from only four categories — arts, science, literature and social science. The selection of a sportsperson was unconstitutional, he said.

On May 14, the Supreme Court had refused to quash 39-year-old batting maestro’s nomination to the Upper House and had asked Mr. Sisodia to rather approach the high court with his plea.

In his petition, the former Delhi MLA had raised several questions, including whether a person can be nominated as a Rajya Sabha member under clause 1(a) read with clause (3) of Article 80 of the Constitution even if he does not have special knowledge or practical experience as enumerated.

The petition has asked if a nomination made beyond the categories as specified under Article 80 (3) is not liable to be declared as an invalid and illegal nomination?

“That in view of these facts and circumstances, the petitioner has filed the Civil Writ Petition before this Hon’ble Court since there is a clear violation of the provisions of Article 14 (equality of law), 16(1) (equality in public employment), 51A (fundamental duties), read with Article 300 A (persons not to be deprived of property except by law) and Article 80 of the Constitution,” the petition has said.

Making a reference to certain financial rights and other privileges of members, it has said, “Tax-payers money cannot go into the pockets of those who are not eligible to be nominated as members of the Rajya Sabha. The petitioner is an income-tax payee and the money contributed by citizens must be spent for constitutional purposes only.”











HC upholds right to pension for VRS beneficiaries

: Thu May 17 2012, 03:43 hrs

In a significant decision, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has upheld the right of the employees opting for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) to get pension and dismissed an appeal filed by Himachal Pradesh Agro-Industries Corporation challenging an order of the single bench, passed earlier in favour of the corporation’s ex-employee RK Sharma.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary said the petitioner, who had opted for the VRS, was within his right to claim benefits of the pension scheme and there was no question of denying him the same by the PSU, where he had worked for several years.

The court rejected the PSU’s plea that after having received ex-gratia in terms of the VRS, an employee can’t claim pension as well. It said at the time of retirement, the petitioner (Sharma) had completed 29 years of service and he had only two years left to retire. As per the VRS, he was entitled to have an ex-gratia payment of future salary, but also had a rightful claim over the pension too.

“Ex-gratia payment under the VRS offered is a payment for forfeiture of the future service of the employee. It is not in lieu or in substitution of any other benefits by way of pension otherwise available under the scheme. The corporate sector pension in the state of Himachal Pradesh is contributory in nature – both employee and employer have to contribute towards it. It is from this fund that the pension is paid. It is difficult to digest that an employee having only around two years service left to retire would forfeit a life time’s pension,” the order said.

Meanwhile, in another order on a PIL, the court directed putting up a 15-feet fencing at Boileu Ganj Ground being used by the school children for playing in order to avoid any tragedy as existing fencing of four feet is insufficient. The bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhry also allowed the school principal to put a gate at the ground under his lock and key.









Irresponsible, not common workmen: HC to pilots

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu May 17 2012, 00:27 hrs

If you don’t like the heat in the kitchen, get out of it but don’t spoil the broth.” This was the Delhi High Court’s message to Air India pilots, who have challenged an order restraining them from continuing their “illegal” strike by reporting sick.

Incensed over the “irresponsible” action of the pilots, who appeared before the court under the umbrella of Indian Pilots Guild, a Division Bench of Justices S K Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher said the pilots could have genuine grievances but bringing an already dilapidated public utility institution to its knees in this manner was “completely unacceptable”. Fixing Thursday for pronouncing its verdict on the IPG’s appeal against the injunction order, the Bench said: “You (pilots) are not common workmen, who are in penury and starving.”

The IPG had come to the Division Bench after a single-judge Bench had on May 9 restrained the pilots from continuing their strike over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ training.

Appearing for the IPG, advocate Dushyant Dave said the order was passed ex parte even though the civil court lacked jurisdiction since the matter pertained to an industrial dispute. “We are willing to come back to work if the court directs and the management assures it will not send the second batch of erstwhile Indian Airlines on the Dreamliner training,” he said.

This was opposed by Lalit Bhasin, who appeared for the Air India. “The ratio of 1:1 for sending both sections of pilots for the training has been upheld by the Supreme Court and we cannot act against this undertaking,” he said. The court found substance in Bhasin’s reply.

The Bench sought to know from the IPG counsel if they admitted they were on a strike. Dave said they were not on strike but “protesting in their own manner” by reporting sick. This did not go down well with the Bench. “On one hand, you want the court to decide the entire matter within 30 days since this is the mandate of the law but on the other, 400 of your pilots don’t go to work by reporting sick and claim you are not on strike,” it said.






HC quashes Ministry’s order refusing parole to life convict

Press Trust of India / Mumbai May 16, 2012, 14:55


The Bombay High Court has quashed an order of Home Department of Maharashtra refusing to grant a 30-day parole leave on humanitarian ground to a life convict serving sentence in Nashik jail, and ordered his immediate release to enable him to attend to his ailing mother.

“We find that there was no application of mind on part of the authorities to the relevant aspects connected with the reasons given by them for rejection of parole. The order of rejection of parole made by them cannot be sustained and would be required to be quashed and set aside”, observed Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode recently.

Accordingly, the bench set aside the impugned order of February 3, 2012, passed by the Home Ministry refusing to grant parole to the petitioner and ordered his release forthwith, although temporarily, for the period prescribed under the rules.

The convict, Faturmal Borana, prayed for setting aside the order of the appellate authority (home ministry) rejecting his prayer for granting parole for 30 days on the ground of his mother’s illness.

He also preferred an appeal against the order passed by Nasik Divisional Commissioner on September 17 last year rejecting his application for grant of parole leave.

The petitioner, who hails from Pali in Rajasthan, is undergoing life imprisonment awarded to him by a Sessions Court in Mumbai for committing dacoity with murder and other offences under IPC. An Appeal filed by him against his conviction and sentence is pending for final disposal.

The petitioner argued that his prayer for parole was rejected by the authorities mechanically without applying mind to the material placed by him and accepting at face value matters stated in the adverse report submitted by police from Pali. (More)







Rajasthan HC acquits US teenager of killing mom

A US teenager who was sentenced for murdering her mother in Jodhpur during their stay in August 2010 headed back home after the Rajasthan High Court acquitted him.

He was sentenced to three year’s retention in a Jodhpur’s special home for juvenile criminals since May 2011.

Justice Sandeep Mehta of the Jodhpur bench of the Rajasthan High Court in his judgment on the revision petition filed by the teenager’s father Dr George Richard Patton on his son’s behalf found several loopholes and contradictions in the prosecution’s case.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgment he said that the prosecution had “miserably failed to travel the distance between may be true and must be true.”

The teenager was accused of killing his 53-year-old mother Cynthia Iannarelli, a business consultant, when they were vacationing together at Reggie’s Camel Camp, a desert resort at Osian, 65 km from Jodhpur, on the intervening night of August 12 and 13 in 2010.

The Juvenile Justice Board convicted him on May 2, 2011. On October 15, 2011 the Sessions court upheld the conviction.

According to prosecution, the accused, who was 15, slit Cynthia’s throat, wrapped her body in a sheet and left it on a sand dune. His parents were separated and he had heated exchanges with his mother over the issue on the fateful night that culminated into the crime, it was alleged.

The Juvenile Justice Board had also held him guilty of destroying evidence. The teenager allegedly fled from the scene after the murder but was arrested by the Jodhpur police while trying to board a flight back to America on the afternoon of August 13.

Pleading innocence, the teenager in a letter to the Board had alleged that the police had falsely implicated him for the murder and obtained confessional statement through coercion.

Defence counsels Umesh Shrimali and Rahul Mehra filed a revision petition before the high court. The judge noted that the police had failed to recover the weapon of offence during the investigation nor was the crime’s motive established.

“It appears that the investigating officer has deliberately chosen to keep the investigation deficient on a number of important aspects,” the judgement observed. In the lower court the accused had said that he had informed the police of the murder, a fact that was corroborated by the statements of the resort manager Terrance Aarbulnot, who had lodged the FIR, as also constable Chatur Singh of Osian.

The teenager had told the court that although the police arrested him from Osian but claimed that he was arrested from the Jodhpur airport while attempting to flee. Justice Mehta didn’t agree with the police’s claim on the teenager’s attempt to flee from the scene of occurrence and his concealing his mother’s articles at the airport which were later recovered.

The prosecution failed to prove it by any reliable evidence, the judge said. The most material witness in this regard could have been the witness ASI Pooran Mal who is said to have taken the petitioner in custody from the airport.

Neither any document was prepared for showing the arrest at the airport, nor did the prosecution produce the most material witness, Pooran Mal, to testify.

Justice Mehta also noted that the foot-moulds prepared by the police at the crime scene didn’t match the teenager’s shoes. He also gave much credence to the defence argument that it was not possible for the 15-year-old to carry the body up to the 200-foot high sand dune as claimed by the police. Considering the witnesses and evidences, the high court maintained that “the circumstantial evidence available on the record is not clinching” and acquitted the teenager.






SIPCOT failed to comply with HC decree

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Comptroller and Auditor General report said that SIPCOT failed to comply with High Court order on making provision for alternate land after the company acquired 1,127 acres of government’s Meikkal promboke land in Thervoy Kandigai. The report said the company obtained alienation orders for taking over the land with a condition to identify alternative land of equivalent extent and value (Rs 6.48 lakh per acre) in the nearby area within three years or else pay 12 per cent interest per annum for three years along with land cost.

Interestingly, Madras High Court, based on a petition, ordered the company to compulsorily ensure provision of alternate land and ruled out the monetary compensation originally ordered by the state government.

Despite of this prerequisite, the company went ahead with the allotment of 543.06 acres of land between July and November 2010 without making arrangements for alternate land as per the HC directives of Madras High Court.

“SIPCOT was facing the risk of purchasing patta land at higher cost (Rs 10 lakh per acre) to comply with high court orders. However, the additional cost was not factored into the fixation of the plot cost for the scheme even though all the above allotments were made after the pronouncement of the judgement,” the report said.

It said the company is exposed to Rs 39.67 crore in the scheme.

Interestingly, till date the identification of land by Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) was still at a preliminary stage without any concrete proposal to the government for getting its administrative sanction for alienation of land.









IGP case: HC directs CBI to file counter affidavit by May 30

PTI | 02:05 AM,May 17,2012

Chennai, May 16 (PTI): The Madras High Court today directed CBI to file by May 30 its counter affidavit to a bail petition by Tamil Nadu Inspector General of Police (Armed Police) Pramod Kumar, arrested for allegedly receiving money from an investment firm. Vacation Judge Justice T Mathivanan adjourned the petition to May 30. Kumar has been charged, along with others,with making some subordinates receive about Rs 2.85 crore on his behalf from Paazee Forex Pvt. Ltd., which had defaulted in repayments to depositors, to allegedly protect three directors of the firm. A woman had also alleged that she was kidnapped and sexually abused by some policemen involved in the case. CBI registered a case against Kumar and charged him and other policemen with extortion and criminal intimidation and under Sections 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women (Amendment) Act. Kumar has also been booked under sections 7 and 13 (2) read with 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. In his bail application, Pramod Kumar submitted that he has been in jail for about a fortnight. CBI had questioned him for five days and police custody was over. He said he would abide by any condition that the Court may impose on him if released on bail. Kumar, then IGP (West Zone) Coimbatore when the case was registered, was arrested in New Delhi on May 2 on the charge of entering into a conspiracy to get a bribe of Rs 10 crore from Paazee Forex Trading company to protect its directors facing charges of duping depositors of Rs 826 crore in 2009. CBI has charged Kumar with abusing his official position and making his subordinates and accomplices extort money from Paazee Group of companies to safeguard its directors. He was on the run for a long time and the Madras High Court had turned down his anticipatory bail plea last month. The case was first cracked by Crime Branch of Tamil Nadu Police when they arrested an inspector who had allegedly carried the bribe money for Kumar.







HC orders formation of SIT to probe into March 2 clash

PTI | 04:05 PM,May 16,2012

Bangalore, May 16 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today ordered formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan to probe the March 2 violence at the City Civil Court Complex. The division bench of the court comprising justices Ajit Gunjal and B V Nagarathna issued the orders on a writ petition filed by the Advocates Association of Bangalore, seeking a CBI enquiry into the violence. Raghavan had also headed the Supreme Court appointed SIT to probe the post-Godhra Gulberg massacre case. The court also ordered the SIT to investigate the alleged ‘false’ reporting by the electronic media and ordered issue of notice to the Centre to frame regulations for electronic channels to report such incidents. The court has directed the SIT to complete the exercise in three months. The Judicial Commission of Enquiry constituted by the Karnataka Government to probe the March 2 violence at civil court complex has been asked to submit its report in three months. The Commission, headed by Justice R G Vaidyanathan, has been asked to enquire into sequence of events and circumstances as well as reasons leading to the extensive violence, burning of private and public vehicles, physical violence between mediapersons, advocates and police in the premises of City Civil Court complex here on March 2. Sixty-five persons, including 52 police personnel, were injured when lawyers went on a rampage protesting presence of mediapersons to cover the appearance of former Minister and mining baron Janardhan Reddy in a mining case in the city civil court complex on March 2.


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