Friday, April 30, 2010

Gyansudha for SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will finally get a woman judge on Friday after a hiatus of nearly four years. Justice Gyansudha Mishra, Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court, will take oath, bringing an end to the long dry spell for woman representation in the top court. The other two judges who will take oath prior to Justice Mishra on Friday are Justice H L Gokhale, CJ of Tamil Nadu HC, and Justice A R Dave, CJ of Bombay HC. This will take the number of Judges in the SC to 30. The SC has a sanctioned strength of 31 judges,including the CJI. The SC till date had three women judges Justices Fatima Beevi, Sujata Manohar and Ruma Pal, the last of whom retired in June 2002. Justice Mishra has the distinction of being the first woman advocate-on-record to be elevated to the Bench.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

ATTACK ON MEENA KUMARI - Accused walks free as victim fails to testify

Vijayawada: The lone accused in the attack against engineering student Meena Kumari walked out free on Tuesday when the women's sessions court quashed the case against him. The judge, Sri Sudha, said that the prosecution had failed to prove the guilt of the accused, G Sandeep, also an engineering student.
In fact, it was stand taken by victim Meena Kumari that helped the accused go scot free as she did not recognise him during the trial, sources said. Sandeep, a third year engineering student at KL College of Engineering, was said to have attacked Meena, his junior, at her residence on April 9, 2005, and slit her throat with a sharp knife. Further, he tried to attack the family members of the girl when they attempted to nab him. Sandeep later told police that he made the murder attempt on the girl as she refused his love after having a close relationship for over two years. Meena Kumari, on the other hand, said that she had never loved Sandeep and wanted to distance herself from him only to focus on her studies. Luckily, she survived after putting up a near 30-day struggle in hospital. Parents of Sandeep, both Govt employees, backed the victim and demanded severe punishment for their son so that such attacks on girls would not recur. But five years later, the accused walked free. Sources said the police had not given enough support to Meena Kumari to fight against the offender.
HC fiat to remove 'Dollar' Seshadri

The AP High Court on Wednesday directed the State Govt and the TTD to remove controversial OSD 'Dollar Seshadri' from service immediately. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Nissar Ahmad Kakru and Justice PV Sanjay Kumar made this order while disposing of a petition that challenged the state government's decision to reappoint 'Dollar' Seshadri in service even after his retirement and his alleged involvement in the disappearance of gold dollars belonging to the temple. When this matter came up for hearing on Wednesday, Shivraj Srinivas, the counsel for TTD replied to the question posed by the bench saying that the TTD board has decided to discontinue the services of all those including 'Dollar' Seshadri, who had retired from service and were reappointed and a decision to this effect would be taken in the next meeting of the board. The bench told him not to wait till the board meeting and directed the TTD to keep the officer away from duties till such time the board takes a decision.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

E-Registration of FIRs

A review Committee on Police Reforms constituted by Min of Home Affairs, made a recommendation for ‘Free Registration of Crime’. The Recommendation was sent to all States/UTs for implementation as ‘Police’ is a State subject. There is no proposal with Government of India for e-registration of FIRs through Public Kiosks.

For technical up-gradation and modernization of police stations, and higher level police offices, the Ministry is implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System(CCTNS). One of the objectives of the scheme is improving delivery of citizen-centric services through effective usages of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

This was stated by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Shri Mullappally Ramachandran in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.

Steps Taken for Speedy Trial of CBI Cases

In order to facilitate speedy trial of cases investigated by the CBI, the Government has decided to set up 71 additional Special Courts, approved 284 posts of Prosecuting Officers with supporting staff and notified a new scheme for engaging Law Officers on contract basis for a period up to five years. Similarly, to fill up the vacancies in the CBI at the earliest, several steps have been taken which, inter-alia, include:

• Grant of Special Incentive Allowance @ 25% of Pay up to the level of Senior Superintendent of Police and @ 15% for officers above that rank to attract officers on deputation.

• Amendment and rationalization of recruitment rules for various posts from time to time to meet the changing requirements of the CBI.

• Decentralization of induction of officers upto Inspector level on deputation

• Diversion of 77 posts of Deputy Superintendent of Police from deputation quota to promotion quota, as a one time measure in relaxation of Recruitment Rules to expedite filling up of these posts.

The trial of cases investigated by the CBI takes longer time than conventional cases as it often involves complicated questions of fact and law, necessitating examination of a large number of witnesses, besides proving voluminous documents. The accused also generally exhausts all possible avenues available under the criminal justice system to prolong trial proceedings.

This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Shri Prithviraj Chavan in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Senior official charges NHAI with corruption in its corridors

Seeking protection under the Whistleblowers Resolution, a deputy general manager with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has levelled serious allegations against the authoritys vigilance wing of implicating officers in false cases who do not fall in line with its wish and requirements.The officer has also pleaded that the authority should not initiate any punitive action against him until his allegations are properly investigated by an independent agency. Citing his own case, the DGM (finance) Rajesh Gupta has written to the NHAI chairman and other senior officials besides CVC that authorities of vigilance wing falsely implicated him in a forged bank guarantee case of a private contractor. The contractor had furnished bogus bank guarantee of Rs 90 crore for getting work award of improvement of two stretches of NH-1 in Delhi and Haryana. Gupta has now written to the NHAI chief vigilance officer (CVO) to have a public debate within the National Highways Authority of India on this issue. Such an open challenge is unheard of in any government departments where a junior officers has challenged his senior that too of the vigilance division. The CVC must investigate whether the wing that was created to put check on corruption within the organisation is becoming vindictive and whether it has some role in generating anonymous complaints and allegations against certain employees, said a senior NHAI official, who did not wish to be named. NHAI sources said that last January, a retired defence officer with gallantry award managing a toll plaza in Agra had also written to the NHAI chairman levelling serious allegation against the deep rooted corruption within the vigilance wing. The officer had volunteered to depose off before the highest authority to explain how he was conveyed certain requirements for gratification to get extension of operating a toll plaza at Semra Atikabad in Agra. As a conscious officer, I opted to bow out instead of taking extension through dubious means. if an inquiry by an independent officer is ordered to look into my allegations, I am willing to cooperate and provide necessary inputs, the officer had written.

Lawyers turn Madras HC into a battlefield as MK comes calling -Demand That CM Act Against Cops Involved In 09 HC Violence

 Violence returned to haunt the Madras High Court campus on Sunday as attacks on journalists and black flag demonstrations marred chief minister M Karunanidhis participation in a function to unveil Dr B R Ambedkars statue. The CM was visiting the court premises for the first time after the violence on the campus on February 19,2009 when lawyers and policemen clashed. As soon as the CM commenced his speech, a group of advocates began to protest against Karunanidhi for not executing court orders for the dismissal of the police officers responsible for last years incident. They began shouting slogans and an unidentified group flung chairs at them,resulting in a fight. Camerapersons filming the violence were also targeted. At least two video cameras were snatched and smashed by rampaging mob. Karunanidhi continued his speech amidst the melee, saying he would not be deterred by such indecent interference. He said he bore no ill-will against advocates or police and went on to promise a hike in the ex-gratia paid in event of the death of a lawyer from a public welfare fund. The violence continued even during the speech of justice Balakrishnan.

The incidents took place in the vicinity of the function venue in full view of the chief minister, chief justice of India justice K G Balakrishnan, union law minister M Veerappa Moily, chief justice of the Madras High Court HL Gokhale, DGP Letika Saran, commissioner of police T Rajendran, as also nearly 50 judges of the high court. After the violence abated, police personnel collected the pamphlets hurled by the agitating advocates, inspected the smashed cameras, and sent the injured to hospital. Esplanade police have registered cases against 10 persons for offences punishable under Section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons), 323 (causing hurt), 324 (hurt by dangerous weapons), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 506(ii) (criminal intimidation). While five persons have been arrested, four others are at large.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

PM could have last say in CJI appointment - Government May Want PM To Step In If CJI Fails To Recommend The Senior-Most Judge

The government has seen a devil in the existing Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of the Chief Justice of India and has initiated the process to amend it and give the final say to the Prime Minister in tricky situations. Since the executive had lost primacy in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts nearly 17 years ago, it is the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court who is appointed to the top post after the retirement of the CJI. But, there is a catch. The process for appointment of the senior-most judge to the top judicial post can be initiated only after the incumbent CJI gives a recommendation saying he is eminently suitable for the job. The government feels once the apex courts constitution Bench had ruled that the senior-most judge would get elevated to the top post after the retirement of the incumbent CJI,there should not be any leverage given to the CJI for choosing his successor. What happens if the CJI refuses to send any recommendation or sends a recommendation proposing the name of a judge junior to the senior-most judge Should the appointment process for the CJI come to a standstill for this purpose

Law ministry sources said that the Govt. has already drafted the proposed change in the MoP that would empower the Prime Minister to step in such eventualities. If the CJI gives a recommendation proposing the name of a judge other than the senior-most judge of the SC or sends no recommendation, then the PM would advise the President to appoint the senior-most judge as the CJI. The proposed change in the present MoP, which was drafted during the time when Ram Jethmalani was the law minister, would soon be discussed with the judiciary for clearance and implementation, the sources said.
No longer juvenile, SC sets free murder convict

Age was really on his side. As a 16-year-old boy, he had murdered his relative 19 years ago. He had spent two years and four months in a juvenile remand before being granted bail during trial and appeal before HC, both of which convicted him and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The SC accepted Dharamvirs plea that he was a juvenile when the murder was committed. But under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, he could be send to a remand home for a maximum period of three years, whatever be the crime. This meant he would have to undergo confinement in a juvenile home for another eight months. The SC felt it would be pernicious to send a 35-year-old man to a juvenile home and thought it is better to release him. So despite a Bench comprising Justices DK Jain and JM Panchal fastening the murder charge on him, it had to him let go, for under the JJ Act, he had no place in a remand home. In this case, the Bench had tasked a Registrar of the SC to conduct inquiries at the three schools the accused had attended till the commission of crime. Based on inquiries made, the report concluded that the accused was 16 years, 9 months and 8 days at the time of commission of the crime, clearly a juvenile. With the legal issue settled, the Bench was left to decide the quantum of punishment. Under the 2000 Act, no juvenile could be detained in a juvenile home beyond a period of three years. In  case of the accused, he had already undergone two years, four months incarceration. So should he be sent back there again, that too when he is 35 years old. The court agreed with Sr advocate K Parasaran and counsel Sukumar, who appeared for the accused, and said, We feel that keeping in view the age of the appellant, it may not be conducive to the environment in the special home, to refer him to the Board for passing orders for sending the appellant to special home or for keeping him at some other place of safety for the remaining period of less than eight months, the maximum period for which he can now be kept in either of the two places, the Bench said. The court ordered his release forthwith by quashing the sentence awarded by the trial court.

Now plea bargains to hasten pending cases

In order to facilitate speedy disposal of huge number of pending cases, CBI has decided to encourage plea bargaining. The term plea bargain was introduced in the Criminal Procedure Code as a new chapter (XXI A) through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005. Essentially, it is a process through which a prosecutor strikes up an agreement with the defence counsel to make the accused confess his guilt. In return, the prosecution will secure lesser punishment for the accused. In Kolkata on Saturday, CBI Director Ashwani Kumar said, If anyone accused in a CBI case wants to do so, we are ready to bargain. He was focusing specifically on the delay in trials in courts. Under law, bargaining is applicable only in those offences for which the punishment is up to or less than seven years in jail. However, bargain does not apply to cases where the offence committed is socio-economic in nature or where it is committed against a woman or a child below the age of 14. According to law, the accused has a right to plea in court for bargain, and the application will be forwarded to the prosecuting agency. If the prosecutor agrees to bargain, the deal will be fixed, provided the judgement delivered is final. No appeals are allowed against such verdicts. Emphasizing need for speedy trials of cases being investigated by the CBI, Kumar said that 71 special CBI courts will be added. Currently, there are 46 CBI courts across the country. During an interactive session with mediapersons, the CBI director admitted that trials of 9000 cases are pending in courts across the country. Kumar has also planned to change their organisational set-up to avoid delays in investigation and prosecution. We have introduced investigation teams instead of an investigation officer to speed up investigations. We have decided to introduce a similar concept for the prosecution wing, said the director.

Contaminated ice seller wins case

Looking to buy ice to serve chilled drinks at the summer party Beware! Suppliers of ice can give you contaminated ice cubes and still get away with it. A trader who was recently booked for supplying contaminated ice walked free by arguing his case successfully in the AP High Court. Holding the view that ice blocks do not fall within the definition of an article of food or drink, Justice G Bhavani Prasad of the high court quashed a criminal case filed against an icemaker of Adoni in Kurnool district. Food inspector of Adoni had booked a case under provisions of Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954, against local ice trader B V R Reddy on the ground that the ice samples collected from the trader were contaminated. The trader challenged the case in the high court and sought a direction from the court for quashing the case.Arguing his case,senior counsel C Padmanabha Reddy told the court that section 2(v) of the Act excluded water from the definition of food. Mere conversion of water into ice will not make it food and hence the Act cannot be applied on the petitioner. If some ingredients are added to ice for making it an ice candy, then it can be considered as food, he said. The petitioner brought to the notice of the court an order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court which acquitted an accused in a similar case on the ground that the chemical composition of water and ice are one and the same.

Justice Bhavani Prasad,  while quashing the criminal case against the petitioner in the present case,ruled that preponderance of judicial opinion is that mere conversion of water into ice without adding anything to it will not bring ice within the purview of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. This is in view of the specific exclusion of water from the definition of food under section 2(v) of the Act, the judge said.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Now, its DMK top brass turn to face DA cases in SC

For years, DMK leader K Anbazhagan had tormented AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa by filing petition after petition relating to her alleged disproportionate assets. On Friday it was the turn of AIADMK to return the favour in Supreme Court.  On a petition filed by three AIADMK leaders challenging acquittal of 10 DMK leaders, including six ministers in the Karunanidhi government, in cases relating to alleged amassment of assets disproportionate to their know sources of income, a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and A K Patnaik issued notice to them. Appearing for the petitioners,senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued that the state had refused to file appeals against their acquittal by the trial court as the law minister in the Karunanidhi government was also an accused. The ministers are S Armugham, D Durai Murugan, Periyasamy, KN Nehru, KOC Mani and MRK Paneerselvam. Notices were also sent to DMK leaders S Raghupathy and P Kulanthai Velu as well as to Ranganayagee, wife of S Armugham, and P Senthamizhselvam, wife of MRK Paneerselvam.
The petitioners, AIADMK leaders J M Arumugam, MGovindan and P Ravindran, had filed the appeal in the SC contending that the Madras high court erred in dismissing the appeal. The petitioner argued that when the ministers of a government were accused in DA case and ruling dispensation did not appeal against their acquittal,the public interest would suffer if a third party was not stopped from challenging their acquittal.

"The state did not challenge the order even when investigation held the respondents guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act.The state failed in its duty in not filing the revision petition against the order,which has resulted in miscarriage of justice,"the petitioners said.

Ready to drop DA case against Maya, CBI tells SC-Springs Surprise In Wake Of Finance Bill And Cut Motion

CBI on Friday told Supreme Court that it was ready to consider dropping its plan to prosecute BSP chief Mayawati in the DA case. Though attorney general G E Vahanvati stated so only in response to a forceful plea from Mayawati,the development is politically significant for its timing, coming just ahead of voting on the Finance Bill and when government is busy marshalling numbers to defeat the challenge in the form of opposition-sponsored cut motions. Unlike other parties, BSP is yet to spell out its stand on the cut motion. Mayawati, in her petition, had said that CBI was being cussed in insisting on carrying on with the investigation despite a clean cheat to her from the IT department. Vahanvati told a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices A K Ganguly and B S Chauhan that CBI would consider her April 20 representation. The Bench adjourned the hearing of the case till August, giving almost four months to CBI to look into her representation. Appearing for Mayawati, senior advocate Satish Chandra Mishra said the I-T department had found Mayawati's accounts to be in order and accepted that the excess money were genuine gifts. "If this is the stand of the I-T department, how could the CBI say that it had evidence to show that she owned disproportionate assets, "he asked. The SC was informed about the representation in the recent affidavit filed by Mayawati through additional advocate general Shail Kumar Dwivedi. It said that the case originated from the Taj Heritage Corridor scam investigations ordered by the apex court in September 2003, in which it had asked CBI to look into the scam as well as her assets. While investigations by CBI revealed that she had no role in the scam following which the case had been closed against her, the DA cases related to the assessment years 2001-02 and 2001-03 continued, she said. "The commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) by order dated April 5 and April 19 this year has decided in may favour in respect of the income in the form of gifts for the assessment years 2001-02 and 2002-03, "she said. "The CBI is now bound to take into account and consider the impact of the two orders and is also legally bound to relook into the entire matter afresh taking into consideration the various orders passed from time to time by the I-T authorities and its impact on my (DA) case on merits, "she said.

Scribes plan stir against Anjaneyulus posting

Sending  strong signal of resentment against posting of PSR Anjaneyulu asV'wada police commissioner, state journalist unions are planning to stage hunger strikes and dharnas across the state on April 28. In its report on violence against mediapersons at Osmania University (OU) during the students agitation in February, the Press Council of India (PCI) indicted several police officials including Anjaneyulu, who was then joint commissioner and advised the state government not to give him any posting from which he can directly or indirectly interfere in the freedom of the press. Even though it is not legally binding, several state governments in the past implemented PCI recommendations based on inquiries conducted on the atrocities committed by police officials on mediapersons. For instance, acting on the recommen-dation of a PCI report in 2009, UP government asked Lakhimpur-Kheri district SSP, N Padmaja to go one leave, gave her a loop line posting and recorded the incident in her service register, said former president of APUWJ, K Amarnath. However, in recent IPS transfers announced by the state government after the release of the report, Anjaneyulu was appointed as commissioner of police, Vijayawada, much to the shock of the media fraternity. Following this, a delegation of journalist unions met the CM on Wednesday reminding him about the PCI report. The CM reportedly told the delegation that he would get back in a day but that did not happen and the indicted officer took charge as commissioner of police, Vijayawada, on Friday. Condemning the action of the government, representatives of various journalist unions announced that a one day hunger strike and rasta rokos will be observed on April 28 throughout the state, in which their leaders and senior journalists from print and electronic media will participate.
A delegation of journalist organisations and senior journalists will meet the heads of all political parties and civil society organisations in the state and seek their support for the cause of freedom of the press. If government still refuses to mend its ways, we would decide on our future course of action to intensify our agitation on April 29,  APUWJ general secretary Y Narender Reddy said. When contacted, home minister Sabita Indra Reddy said she was not solely responsible for the IPS transfers and government is yet to take a decision on the CID inquiry into the OU violence.

PSR takes charge as Vijayawada PC

Barely hours after chief minister K Rosaiah gave the go-ahead, controversial cop P S R Anjaneyulu assumed charge as city police commissioner in Vijayawada on Friday. Sources said state police chief R R Girish Kumar, who has been batting for a prime position for PSR ever since he took over the reins of state police administration six months ago, took personal interest in prevailing upon the chief minister on Thursday after some journalist unions expressed reservations on PSRs appointment as Vijayawada city police chief. Girish Kumar along with intelligence IG Mahender Reddy met the CM and explained to him that the CID probe into the Osmania University incident did not find fault with PSR and that the government need not go by the recommendations of the Press Council of India.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Merit quota for dist judge posts cut to 10%-Large Vacancies Make SC Reduce Quota From 25% To 10%, New Quota Rule From Jan.1, 2011

New Delhi: The merit-based selection window to fill posts of district judges, who are key to functioning and efficiency of the lower judiciary, will shrink by a huge 15% margin from 2011, Supreme Court ordered on Tuesday. The large number of vacancies in posts of district judges, who head the functioning of subordinate courts in the concerned district subordinate judiciary, weighed heavy in the mind of apex court and it ordered that the merit quota be reduced from 25% to 10% from January 1, 2011. In 2002,  SC had ordered that of the total vacancies in district judges posts, 50% would be filled by seniority-cum-merit from among senior civil judges while another 25% would be filled by a limited departmental competitive examination to fast-track promotion for the meritorious among senior civil judges. The rest 25% were filled through direct recruitment from the Bar. But, large number of vacancies, in some states more than 50 accumulated over the years under the 25% competition examination quota, made a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan to wear their thinking caps.

The bench faced a piquant situation.On one hand,amicus curiae and senior advocate Vijay Hansaria reeled out statistics about the large number of vacancies in the posts of district judges and the mounting pendency of cases, while on the other major high courts- Bombay,Gujarat,Madhya Pradesh,Rajasthan and Orissa, opposed any reduction in the 25% merit-quota in recruitment. What clinched the issue with the bench and virtually forced it to modify its 2002 order was that even those states where the HCs were opposed to reduction in the merit quota,there were a large number of vacancies in district judges posts.
However, the court took care to ensure that this order did not interfere with the ongoing process for selection of district judges under the 25% quota through the limited competitive examination. But, what it specifically ordered was that from January 2011,t he quota would be reduced from 25% to 10% and if still posts remained vacant,they would be filled through regular promotions. This means, the quota for selecting district judges through regular promotion would now swell from 50% to 65% of the total vacancy. The vacancy position in the 25% merit-quota in various states is: West Bengal - 50, Orissa- 50, Maharashtra - 42, Gujarat - 33, Uttarakhand - 19, Uttar Pradesh - 27 and Rajasthan - 22.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

CJI had sought exemptions for judiciary from RTI

Seeking exemption from disclosure of information related to appointment or removal of judges, corresp-ondence between PM, President, CJ of India and other sensitive issues, CJI K G Balakrishnan in his letter to PM Manmohan Singh had urged that the Right to Information Act should be amended to ensure independent functioning of the judiciary. The letter was written by the CJI in September 2009.The letter has been made public by the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) in response to a plea by RTI activist S C Agrawal. The communique, which had drawn controversy with activists blaming the judiciary for shirking responsibility, refers to the failure of exempting the office of the CJI under the Act as an omission by lawmakers. The CJI, in his communication said,It is observed that while specifying the exemptions in section 8 of the Act, highly sensitive nature of the working of the office of the CJI has not been taken note of. Quite frequently, information of highly confidential and sensitive nature of matters handled by the Chief Justice of India is being sought to be disclosed under the provisions of the Act by applicant-citizens but such information has to be refused as disclosure in those cases would prejudi-cially affect the independence of the judiciary. Giving examples of various communication including appointment of judges of higher courts,written opinions/views as to suitability of prospective candidates obtained from informed /conversant judges and/or other constitutional authorities,forming part of the record of office of the CJI, Balakrishnan said these could not be made public. He added, Judgments/ orders prepared and circulated to the other members of the Bench cannot be disclosed to the public until they are officially pronounced in the open court as per the relevant rules. Complaints making serious allegations against sitting judges of higher courts received by the CJI; consequently proceedings of the inquiries conducted in terms of the in-house procedure adopted by the full court of the Supreme Court in 1997 and the Chief Justices conference held in 1999; notings/minutes recorded during arguments in the courts;privileged documents like correspondence between CJI and President or the PM and other constitutional dignitaries,are only a few instances which if allowed to be disclosed, would pose a threat to the independence of judiciary; there could be many other types of information falling in such category of exempted information, but not exhaustively,in section 8 of the RTI Act. The CJI felt that the framers of the RTI Act could not visualise,while drafting the RTI bill, these far-reaching implications for the judiciary, and that has led to this possibly inadvertent omission on the part of legislature to find a place for another clause in section 8 so as to make a provision for exemption of these type of information from being disclosed under RTI Act. Referring to the Delhi HC judgment that ruled that the CJI came under the purview of the Act, the CJI said, several confidential and sensitive matters which are exclusively in the custody of the CJI may have to be disclosed to the applicant-citizens. Undoubtedly, this would prejudicially affect the working and functioning of the Supreme Court as this would make serious inroad in to the independence of the judiciary, Balakrishnan said.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More hurdles for Sania,Shoaib - All India Forward Bloc Asks Invitees To Boycott Wedding

In the latest googly to derail Sania-Shoaib wedding, some political parties and womens rights NGOs in  city have demanded that nobody should attend much publicised wedding reception since groom-to-be Shoaib Malik has already cheated a Hyderabadi family and also because the wedding is now rather controversial. The All India Forward Bloc (AIFB)a party founded by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on Saturday, urged all the invitees to boycott Sania-Shoaib wedding reception to be held on April 15. The AIFB is a key coalition partner of the WB government with 25 MLAs, four ministers, a deputy assembly speaker and two MPs from the party in the state government. Saying that they dont have any objection to the wedding, AIFB members, however, Vsaid that Sania should surrender the Padmashri and all the rewards she has received from the government before marrying the Pakistani cricketer. Further, Mirza should not represent India in tennis after marriage, they demanded. Observers said that Netaji would turn in his grave if he heard his party going public with such demands.

During a press briefing on Saturday, the members maintained that she has been awarded with various awards and crores worth public money by central and state government in appreciation of her achieve-ment. By marrying a Pakistani, she will become a citizen of Pakistan. By doing this, she is hurting the sentiments of Indians and damaging national integrity. She should surrender the awards, rewards and medals and facilities obtained from the Government of India, said HC advocate T J G Srinivasa Rao representing Lawyers Federation of AIFB. Sania, however, has in the past said that she would remain an Indian citizen. State representatives of AIFB said that if she does not hand over the properties, they would move court for the same. L Muralidhar Deshpande, AIFB state convener said that Shoaib Malik has also cheated governments of India and Pakistan by furnishing false particulars for obtaining visa as he had ticked on the unmarried option in the visa application. Deshpande said that Malik should be arrested for the offence. Speaking to the media, members of Womens United Front also advised her to think over her decision to marry Shoaib Malik who has already cheated a Hyderabadi family.
A Tale of Two Countries -The Shoaib-Ayesha story exposes key differences in the code that governs marriage and divorce among Muslims in India and Pakistan : Mohammed Wajihuddin TNN

Mumbai: Never mind who cheated whom in the Shoaib Malik-Ayesha Siddiqui story,the buck stops at the relevant provisions of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Act,1937. It has been rarely and barely amended in the 90 years since. This, largely because the ulema is opposed to change and regards a modern interpretation of the law as interference. Mumbai-based scholar Asghar Ali Engineer is one of many who believe that the cultural basis of the Muslim Personal Law actually lies in the customary laws of the Arab society. He questions practices such as marrying and divorcing on the phone. These are not mentioned in the Muslim Personal Law and should be declared invalid,says Engineer. He laments Muslim trivialization of marriage,meesaq-e-ghaliza (strong covenant between two adults) a qazi can be bribed to distort the rules laid down for a valid nikah and talaq. The laws most controversial elements include the triple talaq and polygamy.

TRIPLE TALAQ - Not mentioned in the Quran; an innovation. Most ulema agree that Allah considers talaq the most reprehensible of all that is allowed to man. However, they remain divided on the triple talaq. The Hanafi one of Sunni Islams four schools of jurisprudence allows the triple talaq. But this practice can lead to absurd scenarios, such as the Oriya man who informed his wife he had said talaq three times in his dream the night before. The local maulvis promptly pronounced they were no longer man and wife. The man had to take his fight for the marriage to be restored all the way to the Supreme Court. Other forms of divorce recognised under the Shariat Act, 1937 and applicable to all Muslims in India are: mubarra (divorce by mutual consent) and talaqe-tafweez (delegated divorce). The subsequent Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 provided some equality as it granted Muslim women the right of khula or the right to divorce their husbands. Its prime mover was a scholar, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, who lamented that many Muslim women were converting to Hinduism to get rid of their cruel husbands who would neither treat them well nor divorce them easily. While this Act is often called progressive, there have been calls for further change. Advocate Neelofar Akhtar, president of Mumbais Family Court Bar Association, wants urgent amendment of the 1939 Act. This would be in line with reform of other laws dealing with other communities, notably the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Special Marriage Act, 1954. Both were amended in 2001 to allow women to file divorce petitions where they live. In contrast,t he Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939 insists a woman can file for divorce only where she was married or where her husband lives. Akhtar describes it as a discriminatory provision. She has raised the issue at three All-India Muslim Personal Law Board meetings, the last in Lucknow just days ago. But the mullah-dominated, patriarchal law board has stonewalled the issue. Many point out that the board tried to deny Shah Bano maintenance from the husband who had divorced her in 1978. Subsequently, Rajiv Gandhis government diluted the Supreme Courts judgment that Shah Bano was entitled to alimony. Instead, the government introduced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act,1986. It is worth noting that the new Act is the only one that is enforceable in a criminal court, rather than in family courts (as are the Personal Law Act and Dissolution of Marriage Act). The 1986 Muslim Women Act admittedly instituted some reasonable provisions such as maintena-nce during the Iddat period, or three months from the day of divorce. But, it denied at one stroke the right to alimony even to destitute divorcees. Khula, or a woman filing for divorce, has had its share of contro-versy. Starlet Manyata married Sanjay Dutt after she filed for a khula from then husband Meraj. But Manyatas first husband challenged the khula she secured from a qazi in Mumbai,saying only a man could give a khula.He was plain wrong,says lawyer Neelofar Akhtar, who fought and won Manyatas case. If the Quran allows men the right to pronounce talaq, it also grants women the right to khula.


A provision enshrined in the Quran, though hedged around by many conditions; upheld by the 1937 Muslim Personal Law but grossly misinterpreted and misused. Those partial to the practice quote a Quranic verse as justification but forget that it was revealed during a great and bloody battle, which left many men dead and large numbers of destitute widows and orphans. The flipside is another verse in the same Quranic chapter, which stresses that no man is ever able to be fair and just between women even if it is your ardent desire. Senior cleric Maulana Shoeb Koti says it proves the Quran lays emphasis on monogamy. India, unlike Pakistan, does not have legislation such as the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961, which proscribes marrying a second time without the first wifes consent. Supreme Court advocate Saif Mahmood admits the lacunae: An avowedly secular country like India has failed to give Muslim women what many less secular countries have.

Islamabad: What do Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Punjab chief minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif have in common Both are believed to have more than one wife. PPP lawmaker Nabeel Gabol recently told parliament that roughly 80% of the countrys MNAs (Members of the National Assembly) and senators were muchmarried men. This, despite Pakistans Muslim Family Laws Ordina-nce, 1961. Supreme Court barrister Gohar Ali says there has to be a valid reason in order for a Pakistani man to marry a second time. For instance, suppose a woman cannot become a mother due to medical reasons. The law requires an arbitration council, headed by a local councillor, to identify the reason, Ali adds. But nearly half a century later, polygamy is still practised by isolated tribal communi-ties and the feudal classes, which dominate parliament. Parliamentary sources have given TOI a list of prominent politicians and public figures with more than one wife. The list is long. It names Gilani and Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) heavyweight Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, and former federal ministers Yar Muhammed Rindh and Azam Khan Hoti.

It is interesting to note that Samina Khawar Hayat of the PML-N supported the practice of polygamy in the Punjab assembly just a few weeks ago. It was subsequently debated in the National Assembly. Are Pakistans politicians soft on polygamy. The 1961 law empowered women by giving them the rights to seek a divorce. In practice, qazis follow the old ways. Most Pakistani nikah certificates do not mention this specific clause. The law makes it a crime punishable by prison and a fine for a married Pakistani man to take another wife without the consent of his first wife,says Gohar Ali.If Shoaib Malik and Sania Mirza had tied the knot before he divorced Ayesha, then, under section 5 of the family laws, he would have been liable for punishment, he adds. The divorce meant Ayesha entered the threemonth Iddat period, during which Shoaib has to pay her maintenance. There is a simple, scientific and socially responsible reason for this. If a divorced woman menstruates during Iddat, she is clearly not pregnant and Iddat lasts just three months. If she is pregnant, Iddat continues till the baby is born. Pakistani legal experts say that in Ayeshas case, she claimed a physical relationship with Shoaib and must therefore remain in seclusion during the Iddat period. Under the West Pakistan XXXV Act, which came into force in 1964, a woman can sue her husband if he refuses to maintain her without lawful cause. Barrister Gohar says that maintenance varies from case to case under the family law. Citing Shahbaz Sharif s divorce from his second wife Aaliya Honey, with whom he lived for just one year from 1993, he says: The CM had to pay more than $1500 per month, during her period of Idaat. Interestingly, Sharif took Tehmina Durrani as his third wife soon after divorcing Aaliya.

Hudood horror

The Hudood Ordinances were enacted in 1979 as part of General Zias Islamization process. They cover five areas: zina (non-marital sex) and rape; theft and armed robbery; qazf (or false accusation of zina); prohibited use of alcohol and narcotics,  and the procedure for whipping.The ordinances made adultery and rape punishable by stoning.  But it became difficult to prove rape because a woman was required to provide four adult male witnesses. Failure to provide proof of the alleged rape placed the woman at risk of prosecution for adultery. The Womens Protection Act of 2006, brought by the Pervez Musharraf regime, placed rape laws under the Pakistan Penal Code, based on civil law, rather than Sharia. Police no longer had the right to detain people suspected of having sex outside marriage. Adultery and non-marital consensual sex was still an offence but judges were henceforth allowed to try rape cases in criminal rather than Islamic courts. It did away with the need for four witnesses to prove rape and allowed conviction on the basis of forensic and circumstantial evidence. However, the Hudood Ordinances continue to be a part of Sharia law in Pakistan.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CAT strikes down termination order of PGT teacher

The Central Administrative Tribunal has struck down the termination order given to a post graduate teacher by the Delhi Education Department, terming it as “cryptic and non-speaking”. While directing the secretary, Education Department of Delhi, to consider the whole issue afresh, the Tribunal declined to confer any financial benefit to the teacher. “Evidently, the termination order being cryptic and non-speaking is not in accordance with the stipulations of the basic scheme of re-employment. On this ground alone, we do not find the order in the present form as sustainable in law and strike it down as ultra-vires,” the Tribunal, comprising members Veena Chhotray and Shanker Raju, said.

Vijaya Kumar Mudgal, who was re-employed for a further period of two years after his superannuation in 2007, approached the Tribunal challenging the termination of his services with retrospective effect.
In 2009, the department passed the order terminating his services with a retrospective effect from July 2008. While the department claimed that the termination was necessary as Mudgal went on leave for eight months without proper sanction and authorisation, the petitioner said he was “medically unfit” during the said period. On perusing the documents, the Tribunal sent the matter back to the department for reconsideration. “We are of the considered view that it would meet the ends of justice by remitting the matter back to respondents for reconsideration of the entire case at the senior-most level that is The Secretary, Department of Education for taking a fair and dispassionate view,” it said.
CAT quashes Rlys order against officer

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has set aside an order of the Railways for a 10 per cent cut in the monthly pension of an officer of the Indian Railway Traffic Service for various charges. A bench of CAT chairman Justice V.K. Bali and vice-chairman L.K.Joshi quashed the August 27, 2007 order against IRTS officer R.S. Harit mainly on the ground of inordinate delay of 15 years in completing the departmental inquiry. Department inquiry proceedings against Harit, an IRTS officer of 1963 batch and a resident of Jangpura in Delhi, was started in February 1992 on nine charges, but it could be completed only in 2007, 12 years after his retirement in 1995. “It is apparent that there has been an unconscionable delay of nearly 15 years in concluding the inquiry, which started in 1992. The explanation of the Railways that the delay was due to a stay granted by the National Commission on Scheduled Caste and Tribes cannot be accepted as the said commission does not have the power to stay disciplinary proceedings. The delay is unexplained,” the bench said. Allowing the IRTS officer’s plea, the bench ordered immediate restoration of his pension and reimbursement of the amount deducted from his pension, with six per cent simple interest, within two months from the date of receipt of a certified copy of its order. It also took note of the fact that some documents relied upon by the Railways were not given to Harit. Harit was served chargesheet on nine counts, the main charge being refunding wharfage and demurrage (W&D) charges without authority. “W&D charges are like penalties to deter rail-users from delaying removal of their goods from Railway premises and the waiving of such charger cannot be said to have been at the cost of the Railway though this meant pecuniary benefit to some rail-users.” The lone witness had died and the inquiry was ex-parte as the officer did not participate in it. Though the inquiry officer indicted Harit on most of the counts, he said that no ulterior motive could be attributed to him. The report also blamed an Assistant General Manager for the lapses.

Taking objection to it, the bench said, “It is now a well settled principle of law that the note of disagreement recorded by the disciplinary authority has to be tentative in nature and not the final expression of the disciplinary authority’s views. The disciplinary authority has to take a final view in the matter after considering the reply of the delinquent to the report of inquiry officer, the tentative note of disagreement, the representation of the delinquent officer and other ancillary information. If the disciplinary authority comes to the conclusion that the charges are fully substantiated without considering the delinquent officer’s representation, it is unlikely that the disciplinary authority would change his views. His mind is made up. He has a closed mind, likely to be impervious to the applicant’s post-decisional pleas.”

Source: Hindustan Times

Meira Kumar wanted to scrap SC/ST Act

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Monday said as the social justice minister, she had wished to scrap the SC/ST Atrocities Act in the interest of casteless society but had to defer to the reality that society had not changed. I believe in my fathers dictum that there be a classless and casteless society, she said, However, much against my wishes, I had to tell my officers to make the Act more stringent as society has not been able to transform itself.Laws cannot legislate attitudes. Therefore, these laws continue to exist and we need to change our mindsets. Kumar was speaking at a function to commemorate the 103rd birth anniversary of her father Babu Jagjivan Ram.She recalled how he often wondered why there was never a renaissance in India. I feel this was because we never ever opened windows of our minds towards change, she said.Kumar said the persistence of class and caste was a hindrance to building a modern society and a revolution within minds was required. Earlier, poets and saints tried to change social mindsets regarding caste and class but they could not succeed. Today, in a free India, we should try again, she said. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee gave the Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial lecture where he said, Indias dream should be to ensure that no person is discriminated upon on the basis of caste and creed.

Angry court joins battle

The Supreme Court has slammed the government for treating army personnel “bravely defending the country even at the cost of their lives” shabbily and upheld a higher disability pension to an officer who lost his hand in the Siachen. “This is a pittance (Rs 1,000 a month, plus dearness allowance). If this is the manner in which the army personnel are treated, it is extremely unfortunate…. We regret to say army officers and armymen in our country are being treated in a shabby manner by the government,” Justices Markandey Katju and A.K. Patnaik said. The government had appealed a Punjab and Haryana High Court order giving C.S. Sidhua higher pension. The apex court found no reason to interfere with the order. Instead, it was scathing in its criticism of the government for trying to justify such a meagre disability pension. “If a person goes to any part of Delhi and sits for begging, he will earn Rs 1,000 every day and you are offering a pittance of Rs 1,000 per month for a man who fought for the country in the high altitudes and whose arm was amputated?” the two-judge bench said. Sidhu had joined as a short-service commission officer on June 22, 1968. On November 21, 1970, he met with an accident in the Siachen after which his right arm had to be amputated. He also suffered a compound fracture of the femur (thigh bone) and fracture of the mandible (jaw bone). He was released from service on June 23, 1978.The army authorities insisted on taking into account the period from June 22, 1968, to November 21, 1970, to calculate his pension. But the high court said the entire commissioned service, from June 22, 1968, to June 23, 1978, should be counted and ordered the authorities to pay the disability pension and other benefits accordingly. The apex court, upholding the high court order, asked the authorities to clear the arrears within three months, along with interest at the rate of 8 per cent annually. “Army personnel should be treated in a better and more humane manner by the government authorities, particularly, in respect of their emoluments, pension and other benefits,” the bench said.

At yesterday’s hearing, the government was represented by an additional solicitor-general. Sidhu was not present, but the apex court dismissed the government’s appeal without waiting for the officer to place his version.“… We are in full agreement with the high court that for the purpose of qualifying service for disability pension, the entire period of commissioned service rendered by the respondent has to be taken into account,” it said.

Source:Telegraph India

Stop treating army men like 'beggars', SC tells Govt

The Supreme Court has slammed the union government for treating army personnel like "beggars" in respect of emoluments and pension and asked the authorities to adopt a more "humane approach" towards those bravely defending the country's borders. "If a person goes to any part of Delhi and sits for begging, he will earn Rs 1000 every day and you are offering a pittance of Rs 1000 per month for a man who fought for the country in the high altitudes and whose arm was amputated? "Is this the way you treat those brave army officers? It is unfortunate that you are treating them like beggars," a bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and A K Patnaik said in verbal comments while passing the order.

(source-cg employees news)

Monday, April 5, 2010

FIR against Shoaib in city - 2 Of The Sections Applied On Him Are Non-Bailable

Shoaib Malik-Ayesha Siddiqui tangle turned murkier on Sunday with the latter filing serious charges against the Pakistani cricketer by Hyderabad police.Acting on a complaint filed late in the afternoon, Banjara Hills police registered cases against Malik, under sections 498-A (subjecting married woman to cruelty), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation)of IPC. According to police, in her complaint Ayesha alleged that Shoaib married her and then mentally harassed her over some petty issues and later even denied that nikah ever took place. As per Ayeshas complaint, Shoaib is trying to re-marry without her consent. The complaint also stated that Shoaib had offered Ayesha $1 million to keep the wedding under wraps and threatened of dire consequences in case she went to media. A copy of the nikahanama was attached to the complaint which though signed by Ayesha was taken to the police station by her father. Based on the allegations of the complainant, we have booked cases against Shoaib. The charges are serious. Two of the sections applied are non-coginsable which empowers us to effect arrests. They are non-bailable too, a police official said.West Zone police officials, who are investigating the case told TOI that they might very well question Shoaib Malik in the cases booked.

Analysts said the police by registering an FIR under section 498-A which applies to cruelty to a married woman by her husband or his relatives, had for starters accepted  Ayeshas claim that she was married to Malik. We are looking for some prima facie evidence that supports the allegations of the complainant, director general of police R R Girish Kumar told. We are seeking legal opinion to see whether alleged offences were committed in India or abroad. The marriage did not take place in India. Therefore, we will have to figure out whether the provisions of the IPC can be applied on Malik,who is a foreign citizen, additional commissioner of Hyderabad police Thirumal Rao said. If we are able to secure some proof, his passport can also be seized. Only if we have to arrest Shoaib, the Pakistani embassy has to be informed. But all this is now in the domain of theoretical discussion, a senior police official said. Mean-while, the Siddiquis are reported to have retained a top-notch lawyer Mahmud Ali. Among other clients, Ali also represents Nizams Trusts. Analysts said the police were in a tizzy because of the impending high profile marriage. The consensus in the top circles was that they would have to tread carefully in the case but yet seen to be acting in the matter.

The Days Developments-Shoaib Malik distributes press statement. Admits nikah with Ayesha but claims it was invalid as he was duped by fake pictures. Says he will stay in Hyd'bad till April 15 for wedding.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

High Court sets aside conviction of IVF specialists

The high court has quashed charges against three city doctors earlier convicted by two local courts. The HC has also found fault with judicial officers of local courts for not properly going through documentary evidence before delivering verdict. While freeing local medical practitioners Kolli Ramadevi, Rajendra Prasad and Murthy from the charges of cheating, HC judge S Govinda Rajulu in a recent judgment said it was not proper to term the doctors guilty without taking the evidence into account.The legal battle against Ramadevi, an IVF specialist, began in 2000 when Kambhampati Bhaskara Rani approached the police with a complaint that the doctor and her team have deliberately misled her on her pregnancy and collected huge sums in the name of treatment. Radiologist Murthy also confirmed in August that Rani was pregnant. However, Rani met a gynaecologist at Siddartha Medical College where an assistant professor said she wasn't pregnant. The woman lodged a complaint in December 2000 charging that the IVF specialists had duped her with false promises. The 4th metropolitan sessions court in Vijayawada convicted Ramadevi, her assistant Rajendra Prasad and Murthy with two-year imprisonment in 2003. Subsequently, the women's special court in 2005 also found the doctors guilty and confirmed the lower court's order.
HC stays suspension of gay AMU prof

The Allahabad High Court on Thursday stayed the suspension of a Aligarh Muslim University professor against whom disciplinary action was taken following reports of his involvement in homosexual relationship. A division bench of Justice Sunil Ambawani and Justice Kashi Nath Pandey passed the order on a writ petition filed by Professor Srinivas Ramchandra Sirasi challenging the suspension order.
On February 19,AMU vicechancellor P K Abdul Azis had suspended Sirasi,a reader in the department of Modern Indian Languages,and asked him to vacate the varsity premises accusing him of misconduct following reports of his alleged homosexual relation with a rickshaw-puller,which had led to a furore in the minority educational institution. The court, while granting relief to the petitioner,asked the university authorities to file counter-affidavits within three weeks,fixing May 3 for next hearing of the case.