RTE is for the poor, but many parents still unaware of act
Pavan M V, TNN | May 14, 2012, 07.13AM IST
Mysore: Though Right to Education (RTE) Act might turn to be helpful for people from the economically weaker section as their children will be entitled to free education from Class I to VIII, many poor people are still unaware of the act.
Lakshmama, 45, wife of Chikkanna, wants to provide education to her six-year-old daughter Bhavani but due to poverty she has been struggling to get admission in a good school. When TOI visited her house, situated at Medhar Block (a slum) in Bamboo Bazaar, Lakshmama said she don’t know anything about RTE. When she was informed about facilities available under RTE quota she was extremely happy and she said, “No one informed me about this act and if some officers or some teachers tell me how to get admission in a private school through RTE quota it would be very useful.”
Lakshmama says she wants to educate her daughter so that she can get a dignified job. “My husband is a labourer and I am a heart patient. We know what poverty is and I don’t want my daughter to become a labourer like us.” “But why isn’t the government informing the poor if they have introduced the RTE quota?” Lakshmama wondered.
Mala, a homemaker, finds it tough to get both her sons admitted in a good school. She said, “I’m residing in Bangalore with my labourer husband. I had to let my son live with my parents in Mysore since I cannot afford education for both of them in Bangalore.”
She said her parents will be taking care of her eight-year-old-son Harsha in Mysore. When asked about RTE, she said she had no clue about it. “In the past few days I visited four private schools in the city to get my son Harsha admitted, but none of the schools informed me about RTE. All they did was demand an admission fee of Rs 8, 000,” said Mala.
Deputy director of public instructions department BK Basavaraju said schools have to provide 25% admissions under RTE quota. An awareness programme about RTE has already been conducted across the district for teachers. “The department is planning to conduct an awareness programme for the public soon,” he said.
NGO Rural Literacy and Health Programme (RLHP) conducting street plays in different rural areas of the district, creating awareness about RTE. RLHP founder Joy Maliekal said, “Since May 25 is the last date to apply for admissions in schools under RTE quota, RLHP will conduct door-to-door campaign to create awareness as many poor people are unaware about the act.”
RLHP has organized a seminar on RTE Act at Govardhan Hotel on Monday at 11am. Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights member Niranjan Aradhya will speak about the act.
Election Commission reprieve for Chandrababu Naidu
TNN | May 14, 2012, 02.02AM IST
HYDERABAD: Chandrababu Naidu earned a reprieve from Election Commission when it concluded that the TDP president was not guilty of violating the model code of conduct for his remarks on Kadapa MP Jaganmohan Reddy’s visit to Tirumala temple. Chief electoral officer Bhanwarlal said that criticising Jagan for entering the Lord Venkateswara temple without signing the declaration of faith was not tantamount to a violation of the model code. The CEO said that he had reviewed recordings of Naidu’s statement but had found the charges of violation to be without any substance.
Bhanwarlal, however, said that reports of Congress MP Chinta Mohan canvassing inside the TTD administrative building in Tirupati and of TDP leader Chadalavada Krishna Murthy holding a poll meeting at a church have been sent to EC. He said that a report was till awaited on roads and buildings minister Dharmana Prasad Rao’s alleged statement describing Sonia Gandhi as a bigger Christian than Jagan, a remark which had created a flutter in political circles.
Bhanwarlal said that he would review a report on chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy’s comment that voting for any party but the Congress in the temple town of Tirupati would be an unholy act.
Mohanty commission visits Pipili ‘rape’ victim’s village
TNN | May 14, 2012, 04.14AM IST
Accompanied by Puri SP Anup Sahu, some lawyers and police officers of state crime branch, Justice Mohanty visited the spot where the alleged crime took place on November 29 and interacted with local people.
“We came to see the spot so that when we get evidence and statements we could visualise what happened,” Justice Mohanty told media persons.
This came over a month after the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) recommended arrest of Pipili legislator Pradeep Maharathy and certain police officers and doctors for allegedly playing foul. Chairman of NCSC P L Punia, who visited Odisha in the first week of March, had taken strong exception to the manner in which doctors and police handled the case and said the doctors involved, then inspector-in-charge, Pipili police station, Amulya Champatiray, and ex-minister Maharathy should be arrested. “Police cases should incorporate them as accused,” Punia had said in a report.
The state government has dismissed Champatiray from service, while initiating action against some doctors. Maharathy resigned as agriculture minister on January 19 following allegations that he harboured the accused. He has denied any role in the incident.
The victim continues to be in coma since the alleged incident took place. She was re-admitted at SCB in January following widespread public outcry, which forced police to register a rape case on January 9. The crime branch of police, which had arrested four accused in January, has said in its chargesheet the 19-year-old was a victim of attempt to murder but there was no evidence of rape.
State Election Commission fixes amount to be spent on canvassing
TNN | May 14, 2012, 06.34AM IST
KANPUR: The State Election Commission has fixed the amount that one can spend on canvassing for the post of mayor and a corporator. This time, there would be no extra force from other states and the responsibility of conducting elections would rest with the Uttar Pradesh Police.
The candidates contesting elections to be mayor in the nagar nigams having 80 or more wards can spend upto Rs 12.50 lakh on campaigning. In nagar nigams with less than 80 wards, the mayoral candidates can spend not more than Rs 10 lakh. The candidates who wish to contest for the post of corporator in nagar nigams with less than 80 wards cannot spend more than Rs 1 lakh.
Similarly, for palika parishads and nagar panchayats, the commission has fixed the amount one can spend on contesting elections for the post of president of palika parishad and president of nagar panchayat. For these two positions, the candidates can spend upto Rs 4 lakh and Rs 1 lakh respectively. The candidates who would contest election for becoming the member in either palika parishad or nagar panchayat can spend upto Rs 40,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively on campaigning.
Electronic voting machines would be used during the civic elections. In palika parishads and nagar panchayats, votes would be cast through ballot. On the day of polling, only voters would be allowed to ride their vehicles close to the polling booths. The available police force in the state and PAC would be deployed in and around the polling centres.
The State Election Commission had directed that video and digital cameras be placed at sensitive polling centres. Videography at such centres can also be done. The district administration is making preparations in this regard.
It is expected that in the first week of June, the election dates would be declared. State Election Commissioner SK Agarwal had instructed the authorities of Kanpur and Jhansi divisions to cautiously identify the highly sensitive and sensitive booths.
Jagan assets case: CBI team in Kurnool
TNN | May 14, 2012, 01.30AM IST
HYDERABAD: A two-member CBI team is in Kurnool to serve the summons to YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy to appear before the trial court at Nampally on May 28 in the assets case that is being probed by the investigation agency.
As per the summons, Jagan and the 12 other accused in the case have to appear before principal special judge at 10 am on the appointed day. “The two CBI officials have been instructed to personally serve the summons to Jagan. They are not to hand it over to any of his aides. And if he chooses to refuse to accept, he should give the same in writing,” a CBI official told TOI on Sunday.
The CBI team left Hyderabad by road on Saturday and has reached Kurnool, sources said. On Sunday, the YSR Congress chief addressed election meetings in Nandavaram under Yemmiganur constituency which is one of the 18 assembly seats where bypolls are scheduled to be held on June 12. Jagan was due to halt for the night at Yerrakota at a friend’s guest house and tour Gonagandla and other mandals in Yemmiganur.
In his meetings, Jagan has been alleging that the CBI case against him is a political witchhunt and that it is a result of match-fixing between the ruling Congress and the opposition TDP. However, the YSR Congress leader has said that he would appear before the CBI court on May 28 as per the summons served on him.
According to the CBI sources, all the 13 accused including Jagan would be served the summons by Monday. The summons were served after the CBI court took cognizance of the first chargesheet filed in the assets case by the investigation agency on March 31 this year. Jagan is accused number one in the case.
Aarushi murder case: Nupur Talwar’s judicial custody extended by two days
TNN | May 14, 2012, 09.52AM IST
Additional district and sessions judge Shayam Lal had during the first hearing of the case on May 11 reserved its order on the Talwars’ plea as their counsel complained deficiency in case-related documents provided to them by the investigating agency.
CBI counsel R K Saini had told the court that the agency had provided all relevant documents to them and has withheld only those on which it is not relying for the couple’s prosecution.
The judge first orally asked the CBI to give all the documents to the Talwars “for the sake of justice”.
Later, he fixed May 14 as the next date of hearing of the case to give a formal order on the plea after the couple gave an application to the court seeking the documents.
In their plea, the Talwars had said the CBI had not provided them with all the documents related to the case, including the report prepared by the first investigation officer, Dataram Nauneria of Uttar Pradesh Police, and their telephone call records.
The CBI stoutly opposed Talwars’ plea for more documents. Special judicial magistrate Preeti Singh on May 9 had sent the case for sessions trial, rejecting a plea by the couple that the case cannot be put to trial as they have not been supplied all the prosecution documents.
Transferring the case, the magistrate had said she did not have the requisite power under the criminal procedure code to hold the trial of a murder case which can only be tried by a sessions court.
-with inputs from PTI
23 tax tribunal members under CBI scanner for ‘fixing’ verdicts
Ritu Sarin : New Delhi, Mon May 14 2012, 02:09 hrs
An estimated 69 orders passed by as many as 23 members of various benches of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) are now the subject matter of an unprecedented nationwide inquiry for alleged corruption by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The ITAT, a quasi-judicial body, is the highest income tax appellate authority. Its bench usually has two members — a judicial and an accountant member — who are selected by a board chaired by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.
All orders under the scanner are alleged to have been issued in “collusion” with chartered accountancy firm S K Tulsiyan and Co. It was in 2008 that the CBI had first registered a case against Jugal Kishore, an ITAT member from Kolkata, for allegedly receiving a bribe from the bosses of S K Tulsiyan and Co., for delivering “pre-decided’’ judgments. The CBI recovered Rs 28 lakh from Kishore’s residence.
After a three-year-long investigation, the CBI identified at least 69 judgments where it said S K Tulsiyan & Co. not only had prior knowledge of these orders but in many cases is suspected to have written them as well.
The most glaring case is that of the tribunal’s Kolkata bench — as many as 12 of its orders were recovered from Tulsiyan’s hard discs before these were delivered, the CBI has alleged.
The Law Ministry has granted sanction to register Preliminary Enquiries (PEs) against 15 ITAT members and four officials of the Income Tax Department.
Ten ITAT members are working in the Kolkata bench; others are from the benches in Mumbai, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Patna and Hyderabad. The officers under probe are either judicial members or accountant members.
The sanctions were received by the CBI after a long delay and reportedly after the Law Ministry sought the opinion of Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati. The CBI had already registered three PEs against eight other ITAT members, of the Kolkata and Guwahati benches. These eight ITAT members had retired and, therefore, no sanction for registering PEs was required in their case.
AMC misses SC deadline for night shelters in city
Tanvir A Siddiqui : Ahmedabad, Mon May 14 2012, 05:37 hrs
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has missed the Supreme Court’s March 31 deadline for commissioning 46 night shelters (Rainn Basera) in the city in various areas to facilitate night stay for migrant labourers and workers. Of these shelters, the civic administration has been able to commission only 11 which are being run by five voluntary organisations.
The ones which are functioning are located in the following wards: Jamalpur, Girdharnagar, Dudheshwar, Madhupura, Navrangpura, Ambawadi, Old Vadaj, Stadium, Bhaipura, Odhav and Saraspur.
Municipal Commissioner G P Mohapatra said a hunt was going on for voluntary organisations willing to run these shelters. “These shelters will have to be run by voluntary organisations because this is not our job to run such things,” he said.
Standing committee chairman Bhupendra Patel said he was optimistic that the remaining of the shelters would be ready soon. Each shelter was built to house around 40 people including 20 women, he added.
The shelters will have water tanks, bathrooms, fans, tube lights and the AMC will pay Rs 40 per occupant to the voluntary body. A policeman and caretaker will be provided at the shelters, said an official.
Non-biased justice delivery system bedrock of good governance: SC
New Delhi, May 13, 2012
Non-biased justice delivery system is the bedrock of good governance and is a pillar on which democratic structure survives, the Supreme Court has said.
“It is not to be forgotten that in a democratic polity, justice in its conceptual eventuality and inherent quintessentiality in essence
Dera head case judgment deferred to May 28
HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Karnal , May 13, 2012
A Karnal court has again deferred to May 28 the judgment in the four-year-old case in which an attempt was made to on the life of Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
Earlier, the judgment was expected on April 28 but was deferred to May 12. Alleged
Social justice, terrorism biggest challenges: Arun Jaitley
TNN | May 14, 2012, 03.02AM IST
NEW DELHI: Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley described social justice and terrorism as the two biggest challenges being faced by Indian democracy as Parliament celebrated its 60th anniversary. Speaking just after PM Manmohan Singh to mark the anniversary, Jaitley said it was important to ensure there was no politics involved in handling these issues.
“Social justice, elimination of poverty, healthcare, women’s empowerment, these are all greater challenges in the decades to come,” he said. “We still continue to face the curse of terrorism and insurgency. Let us resolve there will be no politics in these issues. We will not only eliminate but sense will be that those who rebel outside the system one day, we will get them within the system,” he added.
He also paid tribute to security officials who lost their lives in the attack on Parliament in December 2001. Jaitley started his speech by paying tribute to oldest surviving parliamentarian Rishang Keishing, a member of the first Lok Sabha, who was present in the House. Unlike Jaitley, Singh failed to mention Keishing in his speech even though the former Manipur CM is a Congress MP.
Omkareshwar: SC rejects NBA’s review plea
Express news service : New Delhi, Mon May 14 2012, 01:07 hrs
A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on May 3 dismissed petitions filed by Medha Patkar-led Narmada Bachao Andolan to review an apex court judgment and expunge adverse remarks made against the organisation in connection with the issue of land acquisition for Omkareshwar dam project in Madhya Pradesh.
A Bench of Justices R M Lodha, Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan observed in its order that they had decided to dismiss the review petition filed by the NBA against its May 11, 2011 judgment after careful consideration of the available material.
“The judgment does not suffer from any mistake apparent on the face of the record warranting any review,” the Bench said in its short order.
Disallowing the NBA’s plea against the September 29, 2011 order, the Bench passed a similar order. “We have carefully considered the review petitions and the available material. No ground is made out for the review of the said order,” it said.
The NGO had sought review of the verdict by which the apex court had quashed the February 21, 2008 order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court treating every major member of a family as a separate unit allotment of land for rehabilitation.
The apex court which had examined the NBA’s applications for expunging the remarks, had disposed them by modifying its observations in the September 29 order.
“We reach the inescapable conclusion that the NBA has not acted with a sense of responsibility and not taken appropriate pleadings as required in law. However, in a PIL, the court has to strike a balance between the interests of the parties. The court has to take into consideration the pitiable condition of oustees, their poverty, inarticulateness, illiteracy, extent of backwardness, unawareness also,” the court had said.
“It is desirable that in future, the court must view presentation of any matter by NBA with caution, insisting on proper pleadings, disclosure of full facts truly and fairly and an affidavit of some responsible person in support of facts contained therein,” it had said.
Bill to raise age for consensual sex regressive: Court
Express news service : New Delhi, Mon May 14 2012, 01:32 hrs
A Delhi court has termed a draft law proposed last month to raise the age of consent for sex from 16 years to 18 as “regressive and draconian”.
The court said in view of changing social attitude and sensibilities, exceptions should be made while deciding the age of consent for sex, as in rural parts of the country marriages are solemnised at an early age.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau made the observations while referring to the “conditions in western countries” where there are adequate safeguards for protection against sexual offences.
“In the absence of such a safeguard, the proposed increase in the age of consent would become regressive and draconian as it tends to criminalise teenage/adolescent sex. The need is to correct this behaviour and not punish it,” the judge said.
The court’s observations came while acquitting a youth of charges of kidnapping and raping a seventeen-and-a-half-year-old girl, whom he married and now has a child with.
The court referred to the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Bill approved last month, which provides that no person below the age of 18 will have the legal capability to give consent for any sexual activity and the bill makes sex under the age of 18, even if consensual, to be deemed as statutory rape.
The court acquitted Ghaziabad resident of kidnapping and raping a Delhi-based girl after considering that they were in love and had eloped and married as their families were against the relationship.
“Both the girl and the boy being happily married with a child, any hyper-technical view would be devastating for the young couple. I hold the charges against Ajay do not stand established and I acquit him for the same,” the ASJ said.
“Exceptions and allowances have to be made while considering the age of consent/protection keeping in view the changing social attitudes and social sensibilities and the situation in rural India where early marriage is a norm and acceptable in diverse cultures and religions, particularly where the age gap between the youngsters are within acceptable limits and no exploitative coercive situation is reflected,” ASJ Lau said.
Referring to the case, the court noted the girl had told the magistrate, who recorded her statement, that she had voluntarily gone with Ajay after telling her parents and then married him on November 6 last year.
The judge said it was clear from the evidence that the case was registered by the girl’s brother as the family was against the couple’s relationship but later they accepted their marriage and even performed formal ceremonies as per the Hindu rites.
“The girl is happily residing at her matrimonial house along with her husband Ajay and child,” ASJ Lau said.
DoPT ignores SC order to clear officers’ prosecution
Shyamlal Yadav : New Delhi, Mon May 14 2012, 01:19 hrs
While a Supreme Court order in January said the government has to give sanction to prosecute a corrupt minister or a public servant within four months of a request in this regard, data obtained by The Indian Express through RTI reveals that such clearance has not come through in cases even two years after it was first sought.
Last week, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) issued instructions to various departments to follow the deadline for sanction of prosecution.
In case prosecution sanction is to be denied, the DoPT said, departments must submit “copies of orders refusing sanction to prosecute to the next higher authority (the Prime Minister, in case of an order passed by the minister-in-charge of a department), within seven days”.
However, as the RTI reply received from the DoPT itself shows, the oldest request for sanction to prosecute pending with it dates back to January 2010. The DoPT is the cadre controlling authority of IAS officers.
An application had been sent then regarding Orissa cadre officer Prafull Chandra Mishra, who is accused of irregularities in pricing of IMFL (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) while he was chairman of State Breweries Corporation. The DoPT response to the RTI mentions that Mishra “threatened criminal action against officers of state and Central government who issued sanction in an earlier case”.
The second oldest case pending with the DoPT involves Bihar cadre officer Shiv Shankar Verma, accused of irregularities in land allotment. In his case the request for prosecution sanction is pending since June 14, 2010. Says the DoPT reply: “The state government has been requested and reminded to provide (a) complete set of case records, which were not received with the proposal.”
In all, the DoPT is yet to take a decision in 19 cases against 15 IAS officers where agencies have completed investigation and sought prosecution sanction. In 11 of these cases, the requests for prosecution sanction have been pending for over four months. While five requests have come from the CBI, state vigilance and Lokayuktas have sent the other applications.
Before the request for sanction to prosecute is sent, reports of investigating officers are scrutinised by DIG-, IG-level officers in the CBI and thereafter by the DG before it goes to the law officers concerned of the agency.
The DoPT got the latest request for sanction on March 7 and that concerns another Orissa cadre IAS officer, Vinod Kumar, who is facing charges in a housing loan scam.
In the first four months of 2012, the department received requests for prosecution against seven officers. It has cleared only one prosecution so far — that of Gujarat cadre IAS officer O Ravi (on January 25). In case of Himachal cadre officer Sanjay Gupta, permission was denied. Both cases dealt with corruption.
The officers against whom requests have come in this year are P K Mohanty (Orissa), Y Srilakshmi (Andhra Pradesh), L V Subramanyan (Andhra), B P Acharya (Andhra), Raghav Chandra (Madhya Pradesh), B V Selvaraj (AGMU) and Abraham Varicamakkal (AGMU).
Since March 2008, the DoPT has denied sanction for prosecution in case of nine officers, including Mahesh Gupta and R K Sharma, who are facing charges in a scam in recruitment of Group C staff.
The DoPT took two years to refuse sanction against these officers. Prosecution of Vinod Chandra Semwal (Madhya Pradesh), Manoj Kumar Singh (Uttar Pradesh), K B S Sidhu (Punjab), L V Subramanyam (Andhra), Ravi Shankar Srivastava (Rajasthan), Subhash Chand Ahluwalia (Himachal) and Sanjay Gupta (Himachal) was also denied.
SC staff raise quota-in-promotion pitch
Express news service : Lucknow, Mon May 14 2012, 02:40 hrs
State government employees of SC category, who gathered under the banner of “Aarakshan Bachao Sagharsh Samiti (ABSS)” at NBRI auditorium in Lucknow on Sunday, have decided to approach all the MLAs and the MPs, who represent SC seats and seek their support for their agitation in favour of reservation in promotion.
The ruling SP has won 57 seats, reserved for SC, in the Assembly elections this time. The ABSS wants all such MLAs and MPs to convince the ruling SP about the need for reservation in promotion.
The state government had amended the Uttar Pradesh Public Servants (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes) Act 1994, abolishing reservation in promotion for government employee. The government also deleted rule 8 (a) of the Uttar Pradesh Government Servants Seniority Rules, which conferred the benefit of “consequential seniority” on SC/ST employee, giving them an advantage over other employees.
The state government’s decision to amend the 1994 Act and the rules is meant to comply with Supreme Court judgment, which struck down the state’s policy of reservation in promotion that was introduced by the previous Mayawati government. The BSP and employees of the reserved category want the government to bring a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court judgement. “We would create pressure on the MLAs and MPs, who are from SC category, to support our demand for reservation in promotion. If they fail to do so, we would socially boycott them,” said ABSS convener Awadhesh Kumar. According to him, such MLAs, who are elected to the Assembly from the reserved seats, are supposed to protect the interest of SC people.
The outfit also announced that it would soon hold demonstrations in the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s constituency in Rae Bareli and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha seat Amethi. “We want both the Congress leaders to do justice to SC people. The reservation must be kept in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution,” Kumar said. ABSS would also organise meetings in New Delhi.
A large number of government employees of SC category arrived from various parts of the state to attend Sunday’s convention. Speaking on the occasion, Justice (retired) Khemkaran appealed the employees to engage top lawyers to plea their case in the Supreme Court. He also underlined the need for unity among the SC employees to get the Constitution amended for reservation in promotion.
Common Law Admission Test, All India Pre Medical Test pass off peacefully
TNN | May 14, 2012, 03.30AM IST
LUCKNOW: Aspiring advocates appeared in the Common Law Admission Test on Sunday. In Lucknow, as many as 3,432 candidates took the exam at five centres. Out of this, 3176 candidates appeared for LLB, while 156 appeared for the post graduate exam, LLM.
As per officials of Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMLNLU), which was entrusted with the task of conducting the exam, CLAT 2012 was simple. “No complaints of any kind were received from the candidates,” said an official.
The candidates had to answer 200 objective type questions carrying one mark each. No negative marking was done. The two-hour long test consisted of English, general knowledge, elementary mathematics, legal aptitude and logical reasoning. Conducted by National Law University, Jodhpur, CLAT 2012 saw as many as 25,769 aspirants taking the exam for admissions in 14 premier law institutions in the country. The test was held in 20 cities across 46 centres. The two hour exam held from 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm.
Lucknow, the second largest centre after New Delhi, saw an increase of nearly 100 candidates from previous year. This year, a total of 6,113 aspirants were registered in Delhi. Jaipur had 1,827, Kolkata had 1,485; Patna had 1,369 aspirants, while Chandigarh had 1,222 examinees appearing in CLAT. While Karnataka had 916 aspirants, Mumbai this time had only 754 applicants. This year, a total of 1,702 undergraduate seats are available in the prestigious law colleges.
On Sunday, nearly 4,000 aspirants also took the All India Pre Medical Test (AIPMT) mains at seven centres from 10 am to 1 pm. The exam conducted by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), was held peacefully. As per CBSE coordinator, Lucknow, Jawaid Alam Khan, “Nearly 99% candidates took the exam. CBSE representatives were present at every centre for smooth conduct of exams.”
The test consisted of 120 objective type questions from physics, chemistry and biology. As per the candidates, there was a little change in the pattern of questions in comparison to previous year. “Match making questions were a little different. But overall the exam went fine,” said a candidate.
Common Law Admission Test 2012: First trial was not a cakewalk
TNN | May 14, 2012, 05.49AM IST
BANGALORE: The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) 2012 elicited mixed response from aspiring lawyers after the exam on Sunday.
Many found the paper simple, while some said it was tricky. Students felt that Mathematics and English appeared to be easy scoring, whereas the rest were a little tough. Experts said there were many surprises in store for students this year, as the pattern for many sections had changed.
“CLAT seemed to have moved back to its 2009-2010 pattern. Contrary to the given notification; the English section was filled with vocabulary-based questions . There was only one reading comprehension passage with10 questions. This was accompanied by a mix of questions on synonyms, idioms, prepositions , Latin phrases and foreign words. There were also a few questions on Para-Jumbles . This paper was of moderate difficulty level and a decent score would be 28-30 marks,” analyzed Amandeep Raj, national academic head, LST, Career Launcher.
According to experts, the sections that took students by surprise included general knowledge and legal aptitude. The GK section deviated from the format as informed on their site. There were about 20-22 questions from static GK and the rest were current affairs. Students found static GK a little difficult to attempt.
” Last week I appeared for the National Law University, Delhi (NLUD) test, which was difficult. CLAT appeared easy compared to NLUD. Mathematics and English were the easiest sections, but I found the general knowledge section little difficult as most part of it was static. All in all, it was a paper with average difficulty level and I am expecting good result ,” said Divya Natesan, a student, Shanti Bhavan Residential School, Balliganapalli, Tamil Nadu.
The logical reasoning section was dominated by verbal logic, whereas ‘legal aptitude’ was again a surprise for the students.
” There were 10 reason-assertion questions based on legal knowledge. The reasoning part was also unexpected as a few questions didn’t have any legal principles and students were supposed to take the help of their prior knowledge of laws and principles in order to solve the question,” said Amandeep.
“Mathematics had some lengthy calculations, but overall the paper was not at all lengthy and quite manageable in the given time frame. GK section was also easier than expected ,” said Kumar Narayanappa, another candidate.
Result on May 28
As many as 25,769 students applied for the test that holds the key to gaining admission to 14 prestigious law schools in the country, including National Law School if India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, with 1,702 UG seats. The test was conducted in 20 cities across 46 centres. The two-hour exam consisted of English, general knowledge, elementary mathematics, legal aptitude and logical reasoning. It had both multiple-choice and 10 short-answer questions. The result will be announced on May 28 and will be uploaded on the CLAT website.
Money-laundering law: Rigorous jail, hefty fines await tax offenders
Deepshikha Sikarwar, ET Bureau | May 14, 2012, 08.03AM IST
NEW DELHI: Tax evaders could be in for trouble as the government is mulling placing tax crimes on a par with money laundering offences that have severe criminal and financial implications.
India could bring income-tax offences under its anti-money laundering law, making way for easier prosecution, rigorous imprisonment, fines and shifting onus on the accused to prove he is not guilty.
“An inter-departmental group has been set up to examine the changes required,” a senior finance ministry official told ET.
The group’s recommendations could then be placed before Parliament and changes made to the Prevention of Money Laundering (amendment) Bill, 2011.
The offences will include concealment of income, failure to deposit tax deducted at source and false evidence.
These changes are consistent with a global plan drawn up by the Finance Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body to combat money laundering and terror financing, of which India is a member.
Many countries have already incorporated these offences in their money laundering laws even though the FATF adopted them as part of new standards in February this year.
If these offences become scheduled offences under the anti-money laundering law, they will attract rigorous imprisonment of three to seven years and a fine of up to 5 lakh. A proposed amendment to PMLA has suggested open-ended penalty, to be decided by courts, as opposed to a maximum of 5 lakh fine now.
The trial in these cases will be faster as offences under PMLA are tried in special courts and the onus to prove innocence lies on the accused.
Sunil Jain, partner with J Sagar Associates, feels these may act as a deterrent
“Tax authorities already have many tough options and not all of them are used so we do not need any more onerous provisions, particularly in the case of residents,” he said.
The apex direct taxes body, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, had earlier written to the revenue department, the nodal department for PMLA, to bring some tax evasion offences under its ambit.
However, the suggestion made two years back was put on the back burner since there was no compulsion on India to bring them under the PMLA.
India, which became a member of the FATF in 2010, is obliged to make changes in its own anti-money laundering law now.
Under the current rules, the income tax department has to take law ministry’s permission to initiate prosecution against tax evaders. The cumbersome procedure has meant that so far no evader has been put behind the bars although there is a provision for six months imprisonment and penalty on tax evasion.
The tax authorities prefer not to invoke these provisions as prosecution could take many years.
Significant changes have already been made through the Finance Bill, 2012, passed by the Lok Sabha on May 8 that will allow for easier prosecution.
India has submitted a detailed action plan that lists various short-term, medium-term and long-term measures required to conform to FATF standards and some of the amendments proposed in the PMLA Bill are in line with these commitments.
Court questions BCCI on IPL dues to Navi Mumbai police
Mohan K Korappath, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 14, 2012
In view of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Bombay high court, regarding dues to be paid by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to the Navi Mumbai police for providing security during the 2010 Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, the court has said that if the claim is
Lok adalat settles 149 state university cases
TNN | May 14, 2012, 04.50AM IST
RANCHI: Responding to the call of governor Syed Ahmed, the Jharkhand Legal Services Authority (Jhalsa) organized a lok adalat to dispose of pending cases related to serving and retired employees of universities in the state.
It was for the first time that a high court lok adalat was organized to dispose of cases exclusively related to five universities. During the day-long lok adalat-cum-legal awareness camp, three benches were constituted which took up 149 cases for settlement. Of the 131 cases related to pre-litigation stage, Rs.3.85 crore was given to the beneficiaries while 18 cases related to post-litigation stage were disposed of.
The lok adalat organized at Nyaya Sadan was inaugurated by Ahmed in presence of Chief Justice Prakash Tantia of the Jharkhand high court, Chief Justice M Y Iqbal of Madras high court, Jhalsa executive chairman Justice R K Merathia and other judges of the Jharkhand high court.
Inaugurating the lok adalat, Ahmed said as the chancellor of universities he was concerned about the development of higher education infrastructure in the state and in course of interaction with the vice-chancellors of different universities he was apprised of the hardship being faced by both the serving and retired university teachers because of pending cases in court for long. “I decided to seek the help of the judiciary for the speedy trial and disposal of the cases. The Jhalsa responded positively and the lok adalat was organized,” he said.
Chief Justice Tantia said the lok adala was a social responsibility of the judiciary in which cases are disposed on a fast track. “If the highly placed officials carry out their responsibilities properly, a number of cases coming to the judiciary for settlement will be reduced automatically,” he said. Giving credit to the media for success of the lok adalat where petitioners and respondents come forward voluntarily to resolve long pending issues, he said government employees should ensure that because of their callousness people should not be deprived of their natural rights.
Chief Justice Iqbal admitted that a large number of cases related to educational institutions were pending before the courts. “The initiative taken by the Jharkhand governor is exemplary in the country that such cases were disposed through lok adalats,” he said asking the officials of the human resource development department to be more particular about settling issues at the department level.
Vice-chancellors and pro vice-chancellors of all five universities, HRD department officials, petitioners and retired teachers of the universities were present during the awareness camp.
Local court denies bail to illegal mining accused
TNN | May 14, 2012, 02.46AM IST
JAIPUR: A district and sessions judge in Dholpur rejected the bail application of two accused arrested in sand (bajari) mining. The judge observed that people engaged in mining should not be given bail since they indulge in intimidating the witnesses of the case. The court cited many reasons behind not granting bail to two accused arrested in an illegal mining case.
Chattar Singh and Bal Govind Mallah were arrested by Dholpur police when they were transporting sand from Delhi. They were under judicial custody for the last couple of months and had applied for bail on Friday.
District and sessions judge, Pawan N Chandra while denying the bail to the accused observed, “People engaged in mining were actually responsible for killing IPS officer from Morena in Madhya Pradesh. Such people should not be let out of the jail as after their release they intimidate the witnesses and tamper with the evidences.”
Public prosecutor, Virendra Saxena, while quoting the court order, said, ” The court observed that in a scenario when Supreme Court and Rajasthan High Court are directing the agencies to tighten noose against the mining mafia, people implicated in mining cases should not be given bail.”
“Since these people are into illegal mining and make money out of it, they can bribe investigating police officers or may go to the extent of even eliminating them, thus their bail application stands rejected,” Saxena said while referring to the court order.
The court has further observed that such people also indulge in influencing the investigation process and may get undue advantage. Dholpur district is infamous for mining and the mining mafia from Madhya Pradesh and Dholpur are into criminal activities.
Youngsters require confidence: High Court judge
CHENNAI: Youngsters require great confidence to face whatever they may come across in life and emerge successful, said Madras High Court judge Justice K Venkataraman. Delivering the graduation day address at Dwaraka Doss Goverdhan Doss Vaishnav College in Arumbakkam here on Saturday, he said every achiever in this world had striven hard to reach the heights, overcoming several obstacles. Narrating two stories to drive home the point that god would come to the rescue of those with confidence, he said, “If you think it is not possible, it will remain impossible for ever. But if you think something is possible, it can be achieved.”
Stressing that students should never forget their teachers and parents Justice Venkataraman, who is an alumnus of the institution, said Dwaraka Doss Goverdhan Doss Vaishnav College had not only given him a good education but had also imparted good character, which was very important for a judge.
S Narasimhan, Principal of the college, said the first batch of PG students (2009-11) under the autonomous pattern had done extremely well and posted exemplary results. Of the total 374 students, 332 emerged successful in the final examinations held in April/May 2011, he said.
Pointing out that the placement cell was very active throughout the year, he said, “The professional PG courses – Social Work, Human Resource Management, Management Studies, Computer Science and Applications – have an excellent placement record of well over 90 per cent in frontline organisations here and abroad.”
On the research front the college has to its credit an enviable track record of over 425 MPhils since the 1980s, including 30 for the year 2011 who will be taking their degrees along with 322 PG graduands, and close to 100 PhDs in the short span of ten years from 2001, he said.
P Haridas, secretary of the college, spoke and an ‘Almanac of Graduands’, profiling the alumni, was released on the occasion.
Video-conferencing on, High Court drops
RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Mon May 14 2012, 03:42 hrs
In a case which witnessed video-conferencing, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has converted the murder charge, slapped against Jeetinder Mohan Singh who was awarded life imprisonment for allegedly murdering advocate Manisha Attri, into causing death by negligence, and reduced the life sentence to two years of rigorous imprisonment. However, since the accused has been behind bars for the past four years, he will now be released.
Significantly, the High Court has awarded Rs 7 lakh compensation to the kin of the deceased. The compensation will be paid by Jeetinder Mohan to Manisha’s family.
The case holds significance as it was arguably for the first time in the region, all district courts of Punjab and Haryana, that the statement of a witness was recorded through video-conferencing. Manisha had died on February 25, 1996, in an “accident” while returning from the district courts.
In his complaint, father and lawyer I P Attri had alleged that the accused killed Manisha as she was not withdrawing a particular case being fought in the Kharar court. He said Jeetinder Mohan’s father was interested in two disputed booths located in Phase IV in Mohali, the owner of which was represented by Manisha.
It was alleged that in order to help his father, Jeetinder Mohan, in connivance with six others, had killed Manisha. A prosecution witness in his statement had stated he had seen a blue Maruti car approaching from Batra chowk, at the speed of about 70 km per hour. The car, he said, abruptly turned towards Sector 23 and hit a scooter being driven by the victim. The girl fell on the front screen of the car. The car turned backwards and then ran over Manisha.
The witness had also added that the pillion rider (the girl’s mother) was thrown about 10 to 12 feet high in the air. Jeetinder Mohan was driving this car, it was later held.
In March 2008, a local court of Chandigarh had awarded life imprisonment to Jeetinder Mohan. Since then he has been behind bars. Holding it to be a case of murder, the lower court had acquitted the remaining six accused. Those acquitted were Paramjit Singh, Jasneet, Ravinder Pal, Jeetinder Pal, Chinder Pal and Gurpreet.
While Jeetinder Mohan moved the High Court challenging his life imprisonment, advocate I P Attri approached the High Court demanding conviction of those acquitted. Finding little conviction in the appeal filed by Attri, the High Court dismissed his appeals.
Refusing to hold it to be a case of murder, the High Court reduced the charge to causing death by negligence. Senior lawyer Vinod Ghai had contended that father of the deceased I P Attri had made improvements in his statement and that it was a case of road accident.
High Court sends back ‘illiterate’ couple’s claim suits to railway tribunal
Express news service : Ahmedabad, Mon May 14 2012, 05:22 hrs
Coming to the rescue of two “illiterate” victims of the 2005 Samlaya train accident who due to lack of knowledge about filing claim petitions fell prey to alleged unprofessional conduct of two advocates, the Gujarat High Court has sent back their claim suits to the Railway Claims Tribunal.
The tribunal had dismissed the victims’ claims while imposing fines on them after two advocates allegedly filed two separate claims for each victim before the tribunal claiming compensation of Rs 2 lakh and Rs 80,000 separately.
The two victims have been identified as Liyakatali Maniyar and his wife Gulshanbanu.
They had sustained injuries when Sabarmati Express had collided with a stationary goods train near Samlaya station in Vadodara district in April 2005. Seventeen persons were killed and more than 80 were injured in the accident.
Subsequently, the Maniyars had moved claim petitions before the Railway Claims Tribunal through advocates M B Shah and N R Kapade. Their lawyers had moved two separate claim petitions on behalf of each of them and claimed Rs 2 lakh and Rs 80,000 respectively.
On discovering this, the tribunal did not decide the petitions on merits and dismissed it on alleged fraudulent conduct of the advocates.
Later, the Maniyars approached the High Court.
Deciding to send back the matter to the tribunal, a division bench headed by Justice Akil Kureshi recently ordered the tribunal to decide the claim petitions on merits where they have demanded Rs 2 lakh as compensation.
The court also ordered to terminate the proceedings on the other two claim petitions moved by the Maniyars’ lawyers on their behalf.
“It appears that the appellants are illiterates and were not having requisite knowledge about filing of claim petitions and they were guided as per the advice of their advocates… the appellants, as might have been asked by their advocates, unknowingly allowed the advocates to present different claim petitions claiming compensation,” observed the bench.
“The Claims Tribunal, however, did not decide the petitions on merits and dealt with the petitions on alleged fraudulent conduct of the advocates. The tribunal mainly proceeded against the conduct of the advocates… The tribunal has taken the conduct of the advocates to be the ground to impose cost on the appellants though it does not appear from the order of the Claims Tribunal that it has recorded any finding about the fraudulent act on the part of the appellants,” the High Court observed.
UPA, Cong govts took decisions on JAL project: Dhumal
PTI | 08:05 PM,May 13,2012
Shimla, May 13 (PTI) With the Himchal Pradesh High Court slamming the “irregularities” in various clearances to Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL), Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today claimed that the judgement was severe indictment of previous Congress government and the UPA at the Centre. The BJp leader lambasted the senior state Congress leaders for blaming the his government and said that all the sanctions and clearances for setting up the cement plant at Bagha Bagheri and captive Thermal plant by JAL were given by the previous Congress government between 2004 and 2007 while the reversal of decision not to allow the Thermal plant was taken by the UPA government. “We stand by whatever has been said in the High Court judgement and will take appropriate action in respect of the irregularities pointed out in the judgement, including the action against the erring officials,” he said. The JAL was given permission to set up the cement plant on April 8, 2004 the MoU was signed on July 9,2004 and the proposal to set up the 25 MW captive Thermal plant was also given by the then government on September 16, 2004, when Congress was in power. He alleged that the company lowered the cost of the cement plant to Rs 90 crore to skip Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) by Union ministry of Environment and Forests and the team sent by the Centre “completely” overlooked the irregularities being committed by the company. During the public hearing, the local people “unanimously” opposed the plant but the MoEF team ignored the protests and even tore the attendance sheet, Dhumal alleged, adding that it was intriguing that the cost of project which was about Rs 500 crore was shown as less than Rs 100 crore. The Single Window Clearance committee also conveniently overlooked the “vital fact” and let the “irregularities” go unchallenged, he said. Contesting the claim of Union Minister V B Singh that his government had cancelled the thermal plant project and ordered action against the erring officials, Dhumal said that it was only an exercise on papers and the subsequent notings on the file make it clear that the government had no intentions to punish the guilty. He said that the present government was totally opposed to setting up of coal based thermal plant and the decision of the HC, directing the JAL to demolish the plant, was a welcome step.
Tripura hopeful for a separate HC soon
PTI | 03:05 PM,May 13,2012
Agartala, May 13 (PTI) Tripura government is hopeful of getting a seperate high court in the state soon as the necessary Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. “As a necessary amendment bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Friday last it raised the hope that a seperate High court would be established in the state and would help speedy disposal of the pending caes,”Tripura law department secretary Datamohan Jamatiya said. North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012, was passed by the lower house of parliament on Friday for creation of full-fledged high courts in the three states of Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya. Now the amendment bill would be presented in the Rajya Sabha and then would be sent to the President for her assent. He said necessary infrastrutre was ready for the functioning of full-fledged high court in the state. PTI JOY PR
Green woes: Gujarat HC shuts down Electrotherm steel plant
Ahmedabad, May 13:
Taking a tough stand on environmental issues, the Gujarat High Court has directed steelmaker Electrotherm (India) Ltd to close down its manufacturing plant in Kutch district and quashed the environmental clearance granted to it by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest without holding a public hearing as per rules.
Electrotherm’s 36,000 tonne per annum (tpa) facility for producing structural steel, alloy steel and stainless steel at Samkhiali in Bhachau taluka of Kutch district is also known for making of Yo-bikes, India’s first battery-run two-wheelers.
On Friday, a Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Mr Justice J.B. Pardiwala, directed the company to stop manufacturing immediately and shutdown the plant in 10 days.
The ruling came on a PIL filed by an RTI activist, Mr Vipul Patel, who had complained about the pollution caused by the plant.
According to the petitioner, Electrotherm set up the plant in 2004, commenced operations in 2005, applied for environmental clearance in 2007 and got one from MoEF in 2008, in violation of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006, and without the mandatory public hearing.
In 2009, the company also applied for another environmental clearance for a large-scale expansion of the plant aiming to triple capacity, although it had no green nod for the main project itself.
This clearance, too, was granted in January 2010, again without the public hearing.
HC to hear plea for taking N D Tiwari’ blood sample forcibly
New Delhi, May 13, 2012
The Delhi high court would hear on Monday a plea for taking forcibly the blood sample of veteran Congress leader ND Tiwari for his DNA test to decide the paternity suit of Rohit Shekhar, who claims to be his biological son.
Nearly a fortnight after the Delhi high court asked Tiwari to
HC says long leave with proof OK
Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 14, 2012
The Delhi High Court has ruled that if an employee remains absent for long owing to medical emergency in the family, resultant domestic problems and submits proof of it, he cannot be dismissed for taking ‘unauthorised’ or ‘excessive’ leave.
“Once the enquiry officer was satisfied
HC, NCR board to take up Noida Extn issue
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Noida, May 13, 2012
The Allahabad high court on Monday is likely to hear a petition filed by the Greater Noida authority, seeking early resumption of the stuck housing projects.
The high court on October 21 last year heard a bunch of petitions filed by farmers and ruled that land would remain with
Dana’s sister moves HC, seeks independent probe
Express news service : Chandigarh, Mon May 14 2012, 03:43 hrs
Demanding an independent probe into the mysterious death of Dana Sangma, niece of Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, the victim’s elder sister Balsame M Sangma has approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In her petition, Balsame Sangma has requested the High Court to transfer the investigation of the case from the Haryana Police to any independent agency and has urged the court to transfer the case out of Haryana.
Making Haryana and Amity University as respondents in the petition, which is likely to come up for hearing this week, Sangma has submitted that “the conduct of Amity University and the local police shows that the death of the petitioner’s sister could be suicide / murder / strangulation or any other possibility and therefore needs to be investigated by an impartial agency or special investigation team which generates confidence in the petitioner’s family as well as the public at large”.
Dana had died under mysterious circumstances in Amity University on April 24. A case on charges of abetment to suicide was registered by the Haryana Police. Amity University had vehemently dismissed accusations levelled against it.
The petition further reads: “The petitioner’s family has not been provided any details regarding Dana’s room-mate and have also not been given any access to her belongings. Elementary information like the name of student sitting next to Dana in the examination hall, the room in which she was questioned, the duration of the questioning, the nature of the questioning and the identity of the persons who questioned her have not been provided and the very intention/attempt to hide such crucial information in a mysterious case of death… It appears that the Haryana Police and the Amity University officials are conniving to steer the investigation in a particular direction away from truth and justice”.
The petitioner has also submitted that it appeared that Dana had certain grievances regarding discrimination faced by her. She had allegedly told her father that she was facing discrimination at the University.
HC acquits convict in 23-year-old murder case
NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE : Mon May 14 2012, 03:26 hrs
The Bombay High Court recently set aside a conviction for murder giving the accused the benefit of doubt and observed that the accused was not made aware by the prosecution of his right to remain silent. The court also observed that the prosecution case rested largely on circumstantial evidence and was “not at all free from doubt.” The order came more than two decades after the man was convicted by a Mumbai sessions court.
The prosecution case was that Andhra Pradesh resident Laxman Zinna murdered a man in a forest area in Charkop village near Kandivli in March 1989.
The HC invoked Section 313 of the CrPC that lays down that a court can put questions to the accused as it considers necessary or question him generally on the case after the prosecution has finished its examination. Section 313 (1b) says the court may, after the witnesses for the prosecution have been examined and before the accused is called for his defence, question him generally on the case. Dealing with the issue, the bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice S P Davare observed, “Surely, before the accused is examined, he must be informed that he may decline to give answers to the questions put to him.”
The judges noted that absence of such an intimation can “cause serious prejudice” to a person. The judgement also took note that in such examination, the lawyer appointed by the accused does not have any role to play.
“Therefore, it would be very unsafe to base conviction on such confessional statement especially when the appellant was not warned it could be used against him,” the bench said.
The court also rejected a demand for re-examination of the accused, noting, “The incident occurred 23 years back…it will be very unfair to the appellant if after so long, he is asked to explain evidence adduced against him.”
The court acquitted Zinna.
HC asks Pakistan to give info on ‘freedom fighter’
Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Mon May 14 2012, 00:33 hrs
Requesting the Pakistani authorities for assistance seemed the only way in which the Delhi High Court thought it could help an 82-year-old woman trying to establish her late husband as a freedom fighter.
Proving that Sali Ram was indeed a freedom fighter, who spent months in a jail in Lahore in 1931, would make Bhota Devi eligible for a pension payable by the Central government under the Swatantrata Senani Samman Pension Scheme.
Age and ailment haven’t deterred Bhota Devi to travel with her her son from Kangra in Himachal Pradesh to Delhi, only to be told that her request could not be granted since she did not have records to prove that her husband was lodged in jails for more than six months — a precondition to be eligible for the pension. The government said it did not have documents dating 1930-31 to verify if Ram was imprisoned in Lahore. All they could ascertain was his 39 days in Dharamsala and Gurdaspur prisons in 1930-31.
Justice Vipin Sanghi brought a ray of hope for Bhota Devi with his order last week in which he said, “Since the claim of the petitioner, who is over 80 years of age, is for establishment of status of her late husband as a freedom fighter, and for seeking ‘Freedom Fighters Pension’, this court requests the Pakistani authorities to act in the matter and to give a response on the information sought in respect of her late husband at the earliest possible.” Justice Sanghi asked Central government’s counsel Jatan Singh to ensure that the order was sent to the Pakistan High Commission and communicated to Lahore Jail authorities. The court agreed with Bhota Devi’s counsel Anand Mishra, who had requested it to direct the Ministry of Home Affairs to seek help of the External Affairs Ministry in invoking diplomatic channels with Pakistan in a time-bound manner so as to retrieve information available.
Bhota Devi and her son Vikram said: “This court order is like a light at the end of tunnel. It is the third round of litigation for us, besides several reminders and notices sent to the authorities. Now that the judge has sent a communication straight to Pakistan, we hope Ram’s identity will finally be proved.”
Bhota Devi recalls that her children grew up listening to the tales of how their father spent months in Lahore’s “children’s jail” in 1931. He was “arrested” for participating in the freedom movement. “He was then residing at Nadaun in Himachal Pradesh’s Hamirpur district. He was first lodged in Dharamsala jail, then shifted to Central Jail, Gurdaspur and finally sent to Borstal Institution in Lahore since he was only 15 at that time,” she said. Ram passed away in 1986. Ten years later, his children stumbled upon a box in their house that had documents pertaining to his involvement in the freedom movement.
“These papers comprised a letter from the Central government asking my father to submit documents to get his freedom fighter’s pension. There were also declaration letters by two other persons, who were his co-prisoners in Lahore jail. We travelled to Delhi in 1997 but our request was turned down citing non-availability of records,” said Vikram.
After reminders in 2007 failed to elicit any response, Bhota Devi filed her first petition in the Delhi HC in 2011. The court dismissed her plea, underlining that she did not have enough proof. But her appeal was taken up on humanitarian grounds by the then Chief Justice, who directed the government to have a correspondence with authorities in Pakistan in three month’s time.
“This directive failed to yield any result. The Central government wrote to the Himachal Pradesh government to verify the documents again. We were back to square one. That is why we filed this contempt of court petition before Justice Sanghi and with this order our hopes have been revived,” said Vikram.
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