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Friday, June 25, 2010

High Court pulls up cops for opening rowdy sheet against scribe

Censuring a superintendent of police (SP) and sub-inspector (SI) for being vindictive in their attitude, Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy of AP High Court on Thursday quashed a rowdy sheet they opened against a journalist and slapped a cost of Rs 5,000 on them with a direction to the SP to recover it from the salary of the SI and pay to the scribe. The judge made this order after hearing a petition filed by one P Sathiyya Naidu, a reporter working with a vernacular daily in East Godavari district, who charged the police with acting in a malicious manner.
According to him, the SI of Katrenikona police station opened a rowdy sheet against him on March 31, 2007 after implicating him as an accused in a case. Two months later,another case was booked against him on June 18. This was done after I wrote a story against the SI. They have been after me ever since the publication of the story, the scribe said in his petition. Interestingly, one case that was slapped against the scribe pertains to preparation of a forged house site patta in the name of the then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy who was shown as a beneficiary of an Indiramma house. The second case charged him with spreading animosity against the police in the vicinity.

The judge said the court was at a loss to know as to on what basis the rowdy sheet was opened when he did not attract any of the clauses of the standing order of the police manual warranting that. Opening of a rowdy sheet will have the effect of causing humiliation to the scribe, he said and added that malice is writ large in the action of the SI. Describing the rowdy sheet as wholly unwarranted and unconstitutional apart from being subversive of Article 21 of the Constitution, the judge quashed the rowdy sheet and slapped costs against the police. If Rs 5,000 is not paid to the journalist within four weeks, he is entitled to recover the same by taking recourse to due legal process, the judge said.
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(source-toi)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

National Legal Mission to Reduce Average Pendency Time from 15 Years to 3 Years - National Litigation Policy Document Released : National Litigation Policy will be implemented from 1st July, 2010

The centre has formulated in National Litigation Policy to reduce the cases pending in various Courts in India under National Legal Mission to reduce average pendency time from 15 year to 3years. Launching the new Litigation Policy here today Law minister Dr M. Veerappa Moily asserted that the purpose of the new Law is also reduce the government Litigation cases in the courts so that they can devote more time in resolving other pending cases. He said this policy will be implemented from 1st July,2010.

Describing the new policy as a part of the judicial and Legal reforms undertaken by the government since long, Dr Moily said that such a step is being taken for the first time in the history of independent India.  Click for full text of  NATIONAL LITIGATION POLICY DOCUMENT

Mr. Moily said that he will visit Assam, Kolkata, Chennai, and Goa to hold discussions with Chief Justices of High Courts, State law ministers and other stakeholders for the formation of State level Litigation policies. He said several issues like the setting up of more Gram Nyayalayas, family courts and fast-track courts will also be discussed with the state governments. Speaking on the occasion, the Attorney General of India, Mr. G E Vahnavati, said under the new policy, each and every government litigation will be monitored.
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(source : PIB)
(source-saakshi)

EXTRA ORDINARY ISSUE, The price of honesty - Pritish Nandy

Bad news is everywhere. Spiralling cost of food. Terrorist strikes. Police atrocities. Maoist attacks. New bridges collapsing. Scams where thousands lose their life savings. Poaching in sanctuaries. Human rights violations. Farmer suicides. Awful tax laws. Vanishing species. Attacks on schools, colleges, hospitals. Vaccines leading to deaths. Students taking their own lives. Shrinking jobs. Fewer investors. Growing insurgency. Staggering urban poverty. Dangerous pollution levels. Match fixing. Corruption in the army. Mangroves destroyed by builders. Trains blown up.

Crime, sleaze, insurgency, poverty, violence, they all start from one source : Corruption. But the Big C is the only thing no one wants to discuss any more. Its so all pervasive, so deeply entrenched that we have all come to believe we have no choice but to live with it. So we are busy trying to tackle other issues. Rahul Gandhi is trying to bring the rural poor back into our political reckoning. Pranab Mukherjee wants to offer us a new tax code. Manmohan Singh is talking about bringing back the billions stashed away by Indians in tax havens overseas. Chidambaram wants to involve the army in the war against Maoists. Jairam Ramesh is keen to rewrite our environment policy. Kapil Sibal is tinkering around with the educational system. Murli Deora is obsessed with increasing fuel prices.

What no one figures is that at the heart of all our problems lies Corruption. If India can even tame this monster, forget slaying it, many of these problems will simply disappear. How did the Kashmir problem begin With the frustrations of local people when they saw greedy politicians loot the State while the Centre turned a blind eye to their complaints. When they showed anger, they were called secessionists and the army was called in to silence them. How did the Maoists gain ground Because the tribals kept losing their lands and means of livelihood as rapacious politicians drove them out. These lands were then handed over to the mining mafia with whom our leaders shared the loot. How did insurgency rear its head in the North East Simply because every political party in power grabbed the money sent to develop those states and gave the people nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Corruption is a hydra headed monster that has grown so big, so all pervasive that we dont even acknow-ledge it any more. Want to buy a train ticket Pay a tout. Want a ration card Pay a cop. Want a passport Easy. Go to the passport office. There are guys hanging out there to fix it for you. Want an illegal water connection Catch a BMC guy off hours. Want an electricity line Your local slumlord will fix it for a fee. Anything you want, legal or illegal, has a price to it. Including, some say, the Padma Bhushan or a seat in Parliament and of course any deal struck with a Government agency. No, I am not saying it. The whole world is saying it today, making a mockery of this great nation.

Whats worse is that Corruption has reached a level today where it no longer stops at what you want. It involves even what is rightfully yours. Your electricity bill is wrong. Want to get it corrected Pay a bribe. Your tax refund is due. Pay some speed money if you want your cheque. You have won a Govt tender Great. Now if you dont want the minister to interfere in reversing the deal, go settle with his PA. The system has now started using corruption as a lever to harass us from getting what is rightfully ours. Pensions are held up for years. Fake cases are filed on frivolous grounds. Files mysteriously disappear from Government offices. Some universities dont even give mark sheets for years. You have to pay under the table to get duplicates. Do you have any idea how much our policemen have to pay as bribes to get their postings and promotions. No wonder they try to extort you when they catch you.

I am afraid I can go on and on. As a journalist and an MP I have spent years trying to help people get what is denied to them by the corrupt. Its not easy. Sometimes its even dangerous because the corrupt are brilliantly networked. You threaten one guy and twenty others elsewhere jump up and begin harassing you. Cases crop up from nowhere. Demands multiply manyfold. I am frustrated today because, earlier, like millions of other Indians, I had a choice. I had a choice to pay a bribe or not. If I didnt want to, I could fight my way through. It took much longer but it was still do-able.
Thats no longer true. Our choices have shrunk. We are all prisoners of corruption today. If you refuse to pay a bribe, the whole system falls on your head as if to make an example out of you. If we cant stop this right now, Indias problems will only get worse. So will yours and mine. There will be no peace until theres justice. And there will be no justice till the honest are allowed to live honestly.
(The author is a Journalist and MP)
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(source - toi)

Karnataka Lokayukta quits in a huff

The most credible and respected institution in Karnataka fell on Wed'day evening when Lokayukta, Justice N Santosh Hegde, resigned protesting against State Govt's apathy in tackling corruption. Unsurprisingly, as with most things in Karnataka today, the role of the controversial mining sector and mining lords had no small role to play in his decision. Adding to drama, CM BS Yediyurappa virtually disappeared after the Lokayukta announced his resignation.

For the six crore Kannadigas, Hegde was a moral force that drove fear into the hearts of the corrupt, who operate with impunity and disregard the law. Under Hegde, an institution meant to nab corrupt officials had evolved. He was seen by the common people as their saviour, as one who helped them in matters ranging from getting pension to securing school admissions.

Frustrated by his inability to bring to book the corrupt his institution had nabbed, unable to protect his officers from official vindictiveness, and faced with an apathetic government unwilling to fill critical vacancies like the Upa Lokayukta,a disgusted Hegde quit. He had 14 months left of his tenure. His resignation is effective August 30. Said Hegde: "If I cannot protect an officer who was obeying me, then I should not be in a position where I give them directives.'' These were his parting words after tendering a four-line resignation letter to governor HR Bhardwaj. In his 90-minute news conference, Hegde explained the sequences of events that led him to take the extreme step. "The decision was not taken at the spur of the moment. It is not an emotional outburst. For a long time, I suffered mentally. The Govt ignored and showed indifference towards Lokayukta institution,'' he said.

Recalling his late father Justice S N Hegde, who had advised him to stay away from posts which do not require him, he said he would not stick to a post where he could not fight corruption. "I cannot stay for the red-light car and a government bungalow.''  Asked if he would reconsider if the government rectifies its mistakes, he said his decision is final; he is not in the habit of using a resignation letter as blackmail.
Hegde said he recently met Yeddyurappa."I made three requests;the third was about the government revoking the suspension of corrupt officials and reinstating them in the same post. I requested him to consult Lokayukta before revoking suspensions. The CM promised to do that. Within days, a suspended BBMP engineer was brought back to the same post; it was a slap on the face of Lokayukta institution.''

Referring to his investigation of mining issue, Hegde recalled that Lokayukta sleuths had helped forest and port officials confiscate over seven lakh tonnes of iron ore.Subsequently, five lakh tonnes, worth over Rs 250 crore, went missing. The Lokayukta then directed the local DCF Gokul to write to the CVC.
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CVC for changes in Corruption Act

The Central Vigilance Commission wants changes in the Prevention of Corruption Act to speed up investigation and trial of corrupt public servants. Besides seeking more special trial courts, the apex anti-corruption watchdog has asked the government to relook the legal and statutory powers given to the CVC in initiating probe against corrupt officials that would help in the speedy disposal of corruption cases. "There is a need to amend the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 197 of CrPC to enable faster sanction from authorities concerned to speed up inquiry and the judicial process,"Chief Vigilance Commissioner Pratyush Sinha told a news agency. It quoted Sinha as saying, "We have requested the government to increase the number of special courts to speed up the trials under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act." At present an estimated 40 special courts have been set up for the trial of cases under the PCA.
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(source-toi)

Govt rejects Gurus mercy bid, but Prez in no hurry to hang

The Govt has opposed the mercy petition for Afzal Guru, but is wary of whether President Pratibha Patil will accept its recommendation to carry out the death sentence of Parliament attack convict. According to sources, Govt will soon forward its recommendation to the President, putting an end to the uncertainty over its own stand on punishment to Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist convicted of one of the most audacious crimes. But the decision may not necessarily result in immediate execution, for President Patil is known to have serious reservations about death penalty. We doubt she will accept the recommendation, said a senior Govt functionary familiar with the thinking in Rashtrapati Bhavan. Significantly, in response to a query from TOI, Rashtrapati Bhavan said: As you would be aware, clemency powers are conferred upon the President under Article 72 of the Constitution which does not prescribe any time frame, the Presidents Secretariat said. Interestingly, while TOI posted its question online on Sep10 last year, Rashtrapati Bhavan responded only on June 7 this year.

An examination of the list of 24 pending mercy petitions, attached to the President Secretariats response, shows how Rashhtrapati Bhavan, under two successive Presidents APJ Abdul Kalam and the incumbent has for five years been sitting over the recommendation of the home ministry for the execution of death sentence given to three persons convicted of Rajiv Gandhi assassination T Suthethiraja alias Santhan, Sriharan alias Murugan and G Pasarivalan alias Arivu. The home ministry had sent its response, rejecting their mercy petitions,to the President House on June 22, 2005.

Referring to Afzal Gurus file which has been with the home ministry for nearly two weeks, sources said the file was expected to be sent to PMO soon and from where it will be sent to Rashtrapati Bhavan. The mercy petition was filed by Gurus wife Tabassum four years ago. The petition was referred by ministry to the Delhi government which sat on it for nearly four years. Delhis Lt. Governor Tejinder Khanna had sent the file on Guru to the home ministry early this month after 16 reminders to the Sheila Dikshit Govt. Guru was sentenced to death by a sessions court on December 18, 2002, for the December 13, 2001, militant attack on Parliament House. The verdict was upheld by the Delhi HC on October 29, 2003, and by SC on Aug 4, 05. Subsequently, sessions court set Oct 20, 06 as date for hanging Guru but his wife filed the mercy petition.
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(source-toi)

No jail for petty crimes - State Govt Proposes To Introduce Jail Reforms Soon

The State Govt proposes to bring in jail reforms and is contemplating sending people convicted for petty crimes to community service like cleaning of railway coaches,stations,gardening work in schools, etc. It would introduce a bill in the monsoon session of the assembly to amend the Act. Talking to media after the first meeting of the prisoners development board chaired by chief minister K Rosaiah, home minister Sabita Indra Reddy said Andhra Pradesh would become the first state in the country to have a law where people convicted for the first time for petty offences would not be sent to jail but instead would be asked to do community service.

It also proposes to introduce the concept of private public partnership (PPP) and encourage industries to set up units to make such products as steel furniture, chalk pieces, soaps and tailoring, dyeing and printing units in central jails on an experimental basis. These industries would train the convicts in various trades and the products would be marketed by those companies under their brand name. The minister said there are 1300 jails in the state of which 7 are central jails, 11 district jails, two womens jails, two open jails and 105 sub jails.

The meeting also decided to increase the wages paid to the convicts from present Rs 10, Rs 15, and Rs 20 depending upon the category of the jail to Rs 30, Rs 50 and Rs 70 respectively. Of this one third amount would be given to the family of the victims involved in cases relating to the convicts.Similarly, it is proposed to give powers to jail superintendents to accord permission for the convicts to attend emergencies like funeral of a family member. Since the jail department does not have a building of its own, it has been decided to allocate Rs 25 crore for construction of a new building. Similarly, a special ward for convicts in Gandhi Hospital in the city is also being contemplated, according to the minister.
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(source-toi)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

NLP to remove largest litigant tag from govt - Govt Formulates National Litigation Policy To Reduce 2.1 Crore Cases In Courts To 1 Crore

The Centre and states have acquired the tag of government is the largest litigant, accounting for 70% of the 3 crore cases pending in various courts in India that is over 2.1 crore cases. Now, the Centre has formulated a National Litigation Policy (NLP), which will help both it and the states that are too eager to adopt it shed this shameful tag in the next four years and decongest the dockets of the courts. The policy will be announced on Wednesday by law minister Veerappa Moily.

First and foremost, the policy, drafted by Attorney General G E Vahanvati and vetted by Moily, aims to make appeal not mandatory in every case, the motto for every government department and public sector undertaking. It will put in place a comprehensive mechanism that will impress upon the departmental heads not to go for appeals and litigation against citizens just to harass them. The let the court decide attitude will be given a go bye, NLP stressed. In addition, it will provide efficient lawyers to the government departments by selecting them through a strict scrutiny and will remove any lawyer in the government panel if he or she is found to be asking for repeated adjournments.

Arbitration will be the main stay for the resolution of disputes with citizen and the entire process of arbitration would be made corruption free vetting of arbitration agreements and providing a clause that would warrant sacking of lawyers found delaying the process.

POLICY IN PLACE - The highlights of the NLP

- To transform the Central Govt into an efficient and responsible litigant focussing only on core issues

- Conducting litigation in a time bound manner

- Ensure that good cases are won but bad cases not persevered with

- Every effort must be made to improve government representation

- Screening Committees to monitor every litigation

- All litigation to be conducted on premise that Citizens come first and Govt is not there to trample on fundamental rights

- Arbitration to be accepted as mainstay and all corruption in arbitration proceeding to be removed

- Arbitration agreements to be very carefully drafted. Every arbitration case to be monitored and lawyers who are found to delay arbitration should be sacked

- Appeal in every case must stop

- Govt litigation share in all courts in India is 70% to reduce it by 50%
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(source-toi)

Kalahasti temple board abolished by HC

The High Court on Tuesday set aside the Srikalahasti temple trust board that was constituted in Feb 09.
Justice R Ranganathan delivered his verdict after hearing a petition by Pagadala Pratap and A Muthu of Srikalahasti, who charged the state with violating the norms in forming the board. Namburi Gurugopal,  counsel for the petitioners, brought to the notice of the court a letter written to the endowments minister by another minister Anam Ramnarayana Reddy in which the latter had recommended certain names for appointment as trust board members and chairman. A few days later, all the persons recommended by the minister were appointed to the board through a GO. The petitioners made Anam a respondent in this case. The judge, who called for records,came to a conclusion that the basic norms were flouted for making the appointments and quashed the board.
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(source-toi)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Builder told to pay Rs 2,000 a day for delaying shop possession

In a recent order that will cheer property buyers, the Maharashtra State Consumer Commission has directed a developer to shell out Rs 20 lakh at the rate of Rs 2,000 a day for the delay in giving possession of a shop premises to a purchaser. The significance of the order is that it enforced 'per day' damage clause in the sale agreement, according to lawyer Bindu Jain who represented aggrieved party Dharshi Dedhia. Often, builders have an agreement clause that assures buyers a daily damage for delayed possession, but few buyers invoke it, Jain said. The commission said, "To issue notice for delivery of possession without occupation certificate was an illegal act. We find that there is no ground to justify the delay." Dedhia possessed a shop and godown in Rajhans building in Thane as a tenant. The original landlord sold the premises to Padmavati Enterprises who decided to redevelop the property and agreed to give a shop of 366 sq ft to Dedhia at a subsidised rate. The agreement was made in June 2005 to hand over possession in October 2005, but the possession was given in June 2007 without an occupation certificate. As a result, Dedhia claimed damages as stipulated in the agreement. Dedhia took up the matter with the Thane district consumer forum, which in January 2009 ordered the builder to pay him Rs 20,000.
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(source-toi)

LEGALLY SPEAKING - Is irretrievable breakdown theory a ground for divorce : It, However, Doesnt Give Either Party A Licence To Walk Into A Court And Seek A Speedy Divorce

Relationships between individuals depend largely on trust,respect and love for each other. Matrimonial relationships are more complex. For, they involve delicate human and emotional traits coupled with an intrinsic need for adjustment. Amid these complexities, both must also have breathing space to preserve their own individuality. Realising that these complexities could impact on husband-wife relations, Hindu Marriage Act,1955, had made room for divorce if both or one of them realised that they were caged in a marital bond and it was better to quit then suffer. 

Section 13 of the Act provided a long list of grounds for divorce given the complexities of human nature. One could seek divorce on the following grounds: adultery, conversion from Hinduism to another religion ,unsoundness of mind, suffering from venereal or virulent diseases in communicable form for three continuous years, renouncing the world, missing for seven years or more and no cohabitation for two years. In addition, it entitled a woman to divorce if the husband was found to be guilty of marrying again or having a wife prior to marriage and if the earlier wife was alive; or he was found guilty of rape, sodomy or bestiality after the solemnisation of marriage. Despite the elaborate grounds, courts in the past two decades came across cases where a man and woman were living a dead marriage, unable to find a ground to untie the knot, mainly stemming from mental cruelty inflicted by one on the other. The Supreme Court for the first time on January 13,1995, in Romesh Chander vs Savitri [1995 (2) SCC 7], posed the question whether a marriage which is otherwise dead emotionally and practically should be continued.

The problem, irretrievable breakdown of marriage, kept raising its head with frustrating regularity. A 3-judge Bench of the apex court, in 2007, dealt with it elaborately in Samar Ghosh vs Jaya Ghosh [2007 (4) SCC 511]. Justice Dalveer Bhandari, author of the unanimous judgment, examined the worldwide judicial trends starting from the 1864 British case of Prichard vs Prichard, where the court had felt that repeated acts of unprovoked violence by the wife were to be regarded as cruelty, although they might not inflict serious bodily injury on the husband.

The irretrievable breakdown of marriage theory was first formulated by the Law Commission of India in its report to the government on April 7,1978, taking into account a two-decade long problem. This means, the Union Cabinet ratified the need to address the problem after its illeffects on marriage was diagnosed more than 50 years ago. The commission had said, "In case the marriage has ceased to exist in substance and in reality, there is no reason for denying divorce, then the parties alone can decide whether their mutual relationship provides the fulfilment which they seek. "Divorce should be seen as a solution and an escape route out of a difficult situation. Such divorce is unconcerned with the wrongs of the past, but is concerned with bringing the parties and the children to terms with the new situation and developments by working out the most satisfactory basis upon which they may regulate their relationship in the changed circumstances."

But the breakdown theory, recognised by the law commission and the supreme court as a solid ground for annulling a marriage, does not give licence to any husband to walk into the court seeking divorce claiming that his marriage has broken down irretrievably. The courts examining such pleas must apply the strict scrutiny test, the apex court had said it in a judgement in the year 2007. A husband or wife must show that "they have separated and the separation has continued for a sufficient length of time and one of them has presented a petition of divorce" before taking recourse to the breakdown theory. Moreover, courts faced with such a case "no doubt, should seriously endeavour to reconcile the parties; yet, if it is found that the breakdown is irreparable, then divorce should not be withheld," the SC said, adding that "The consequences of preservation in law of a unworkable marriage which has long ceased to be effective are bound to be a source of greater misery for the parties."
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(source-toi)

Modi turns Death Merchant taunt on Sonia - Congress Retaliates,Says BJP Govt In MP Has A Lot To Answer For On Bhopal Too

The defining punchline of 2007 Gujarat polls, maut ka saudagar, was back in circulation, when Gujarat CM N Modi hurled it back at its author, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, to scale up controversy over Bhopal gas leak. Modi, at a rally in Patna, questioned Sonias silence over Bhopal gas leak and asked her who was Bhopals maut ka saudagar, eliciting strong words from Congress which said he had no moral right to question their party chief. The comment threatens to revive the Modi vs Sonia clash. The Congress president had called the Hindutva strongman merchant of death for his role in the 2002 riots. The barb had stirred an otherwise placid assembly poll campaign with Modi seizing on the appellation to turn it into an issue of Gujarati pride. The ensuing polarisation is said to have turned the tide in favour of BJP. The two leaders have hurled bitter barbs at each other since Modis comments in 2002 assembly elections held after Gujarat riots lent the political battle a sharp personal edge. His references to Sonias Italian origin and religion have particularly riled Congressmen. Congress has since captured power in New Delhi twice in succession but Soniaspolitical objective of unseating Modi from Gandhinagar has remained a sort of elusive final frontier. The Sunday offensive from Modi may be the catalyst to break the pause in hostilities between them since the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. As Modi exhumed the maut ka saudagar epithet and hurled it at Sonia, AICC spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said the CM had no moral right to question her as he preached a divisive brand of politics.

Coming in the backdrop of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar angrily calling off a dinner for BJP brass on Saturday over advertisements placed in local media showing him in Modis company, Congress tried to rub it in to turn the provocation into a political advantage. Natarajan said, Modi practises a divisive and bankrupt brand of politics to the extent that BJPs alliance partner Nitish Kumar has refused to share a platform with him. AICC secretary Rajiv Shukla said Modi was jhoot ka saudagar and his lies had been caught by Nitish Kumar. The Sunday stand-off hinted that Congress was ready to counterattack BJP over Bhopal after fielding allegations for over a week over release of Warren Anderson. Natarajan, retaliating to questions asked by Modi on injustice to the Bhopal victims, said BJP itself had a lot to answer for. Why did BJP take legal opinion of an American law firm for extradition of Anderson and not take any steps to extradite him, she asked. The spokesperson said BJP also had to answer why MP government had opposed the setting up of Bhopal Commission and why it had not used the central money to clean up water in Bhopal.
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Draft law on CBI powers with govt

Burdened by the limited inadequacy of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946, and fighting ambiguity over its duties,the CBI now seeks draft law aimed at replacing dated DSPE Act that governs the agency. The draft law is now with the government. At present, CBI is limited to specific crimes based on Acts mainly the DSPE Act. The agency can investigate offences notified by the central Govt.  under the Act though it conducts operations related to different Acts including IPC, NDPS and IT Act.

CBI spokesperson Harsh Bhal said, There are more than 300 Acts which are investigated by the agency and we have proposed the same in our draft. The draft has been submitted as per provisions of Article 246 of the Constitution seeking replacement for the DSPE Act. The CBIs draft says the central Govt.  may by order extend to any area, including railway areas, in a state, not being Union Territory, powers and jurisdiction of officers of the agency for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of offences included in Schedule II and those related to matters in the concurrent list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. The draft seek to have an all India jurisdiction for 53 categories of offences which includes to Explosive Substances Act,Anti-Hijacking Act,Drugs and Cosmetics Act etc.
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(source-toi)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

(sourcee-vaartha)

Bhopal: Cong faults judiciary

After a noisy round of finger-pointing in Congress,the party has sought to turn the focus away from score-settling within to the role of non-Congress governments and judiciary in dealing with the Bhopal gas leak case. The Congress brass is of the view that the party has nothing to add to its position that it was up to relevant figures like then MP CM Arjun Singh to offer clarifications or explanations on the escape of former union carbide boss Warren Anderson. With the party stoutly denying that the Rajiv Gandhi government had any role in the case, leaders like law minister M Veerappa Moily on Saturday questioned the role of the judiciary in diluting charges against the accused who were handed out paltry sentences by a trial court this week. The double-track seems well thought out as the party looks to firmly shift public gaze away from internal scoresettling which had been fanned by another former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijay Singh having said the state merely acted on the Centres instructions. But with a careful perusal of statements made by senior leaders like Arjun Singh and officials soon after the 1984 disaster convincing the leadership that there was no link beyond speculation to Rajiv Gandhis PMO, the party feels it can weather the storm.

Moily said that the CBI had booked a case under section 302, but the Supreme Court had converted it to a case under 304A of culpable homicide with a lighter punishment.Unfortunately the judiciary did it, said Moily, more or less pointing to former CJI A M Ahmadi who had headed the bench.
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Times View

The cacophony of outrage and breast-beating by political parties on Bhopal is not only farcical, but fast turning disgusting. For 26 years, these parties have quietly watched the victims of the tragedy struggle against a judicial system and an executive that repeatedly failed them. Where was their concern all these years.  If they are finally waking up to the immense injustice done to the victims, blame games or setting up committees and groups of ministers is not the way to show it. They should instead devote their energies and attention to provide adequate compensation and rehabilitation for the victims and create institutional safeguards against such miscarraige of justice in the future.
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Moily slams Alexanders views


Distancing itself from the Bhopal gas case,law minister M Veerappa blamed the judiciary in diluting charges against the accused this week. Moily also attacked PC Alexander, former principal secretary to Rajiv Gandhi, for suggesting that late leader may have communicated with Arjun Singh over Andersons release, echoing another Gandhi aide RK Dhawan, for acting out of a personal animus. Moily said that Alexander had been disappointed at Congress not backing his claim for the presidents office. While Alexander did not react to either Moily or Alexander, former CJI,while saying he did not want to engage in a blame-game with anyone went on point out that the government of the day could not absolve itself of all responsibility. When something of this nature happens to people of the country, does the government say it has no responsibility I am unable to understand that, Ahmadi said. Congress sources also said that BJP did not have much of a leg to stand on as the opinion of former attorney general Soli Sorabjee that there was a lack of strong evidence to link Anderson to the gas leak dates to 2001 when the NDA was in power. The party can be expected to question BJPs track record onthe case when countering opposition partys claim that Congress must come clean on who allowed Anderson to leave India.

Aware that Arjun Singh could well be counting on his enigmatic silence to deepen the mystery over Andersons exit and speculation over whether he had acted under instructions of the Centre, Congress kept up the pressure on the leader. Arjun Singh should break his silence and come forward to tell whether he stands by the statements he made after Anderson left the country, said Congress MP Satyavrat Chaturvedi. Chaturvedi said Singh had announced that Anderson was not required by the police, that there was no pressure on him from anybody and that he had briefed Rajiv Gandhi about the circumstances that led to the union carbide bosss arrest and release. These remarks clearly show that Rajiv Gandhi had nothing to do with the release of Anderson, a decision taken at the level of the state government, the MP said.
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US to consider Carbide chiefs extradition

Days after ruling out any new inquiries against Union Carbide in the wake of the Bhopal court verdict, the US on Saturday said it is prepared to give fair consideration to any fresh request from India for extradition of the company s former chief Warren Anderson over the 1984 gas disaster that killed thousands. We have an extradition treaty with India.And if India makes an extradition request to us, we will give it fair consideration, US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said.If the government of India makes such a request the US will carefully evaluate it, he told reporters in response to a question. Crowley, however, said he was not in a position to verify whether the US had already received such requests or whether it had responded to them arguing that all such issues were confidential.
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Anderson not well, everything sorted out: Wife

New Delhi: Warren Anderson is said to be indisposed and completely oblivious to growing clamour in India for bringing him to justice after a light punishment to seven Indians convicted in the Bhopal gas disaster provoked outrage across the country. The 89-year-old was the head of Union Carbide Corp when about 40 tonnes of deadly methyl isocyanate gas leaked from its plant in Bhopal and left around 15,000 people dead in the worlds worst industrial disaster. He was briefly detained and later allowed to leave the country. He now lives on Ocean Road at Bridgehampton in New York State with his wife, Lillian Anderson (85).

He (Anderson) is unwell and cant answer any questions, Andersons wife told a Times Now reporter, who tracked down the Andersons. Lillian said there was nothing to say and that everything has been sorted out. A Bhopal court on Monday had convicted seven former senior employees of Union Carbides Indian subsidiary of death by negligence for their roles in the tragedy. The CBI, which said the plant hadnt been following proper safety procedures,had originally accused 12 defendants: eight Indian company officials; Anderson; the Union Carbide and two subsidiary companies.One of the accused Indians has since died.
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(source-toi)
(source-saakshi)
(source-saakshi)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

(source-saakshi)

Union cabinet nod to making divorce easier - Liberal laws are good

This has been a long time coming.The law ministrys suggestion that irretrievable breakdown of marriage be made a ground for divorce has been cleared by the Union cabinet. Now, steps would have to be taken to amend the Hindu Marriage Act and Special Marriage Act accordingly. The marriage Acts of our country have clearly not kept up with the times. Legislated in the 1950s they have only three clauses for granting divorce: matrimonial fault, mutual consent and specific circumstances like a missing partner or insanity. The Supreme Court as well as the Law Commission have on several occasions recommended that breakdown of marriage be included in divorce provisions, but that is yet to have any impact on our laws. Its time this provision, which is available in many liberal democracies, be included in Indian law. The reasons for this are clear. Marriage is a contract where individuals are meant to enter on their free will. If one of the partners wants to break the contract for whatever reason, he or she must have the option to exit. This is akin to the no-fault divorce where dissolution of a marriage does not require any evidence of wrongdoing or breach of the marital contract. Several countries ,including the US and Australia,have provisions for such divorce.

In the Indian context, objections have been raised regarding the vulnerability of rural and illiterate women. These dont have much merit. If a man seeks divorce, he is likely to exploit a legal loophole. In any case, our current laws have not been able to stop men from deserting their wives or marrying many times. Instead of dwelling on the worst-case scenarios we need to amend our laws to make them more liberal. In the case of marriage, this must be predicated on the belief that it is a contract like any other.
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Not in societys interest

The cabinets nod to the proposed amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act, clearing the way for incorporating irretrievable breakdown of marriage as a ground for divorce,is a disastrous development.This will strike at the very root of the institution of marriage and significantly contribute to higher divorce rates in the country.For,if irretrievable breakdown of marriage becomes a legitimate ground for divorce,it will serve as a convenient excuse for married men and women to opt out of their marriages at the slightest hint of inconvenience.This is especially true for the urban set-up where individualism along with financial selfsufficiency is on the rise.The repercussions are indeed grave.Increase in the number of broken marriages will lead to various social problems such as erosion of the concept of family.Plus,the negative impact of divorce on children is immeasurable.Hence,this is a trend that should be discouraged.

In particular,the amendments will severely impact married women from rural or disadvantaged backgrounds who are largely dependent on their spouses for their financial needs.Divorce for them equals destitution.In such a scenario if a man were to claim irretrievable breakdown of marriage and get a divorce,given our weak alimony rules,his wife would be forced into abject poverty.Besides,making divorce easier should never be the aim of the state.Instead,the focus should be on marriage counselling.Divorce should be the last resort when all else has failed.

Marriage is the most fundamental of social institutions and its sanctity must be maintained.Social problems in western societies can all be traced to their flippant attitude towards marriage and family.Our society should not follow suit and fall prey to misplaced notions of modernity.
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(source-toi)

Cases against NRI husbands on the rise

The state police records an average of 80 cases every year of NRI husbands harassing their wives. In fact, as many as 30 such cases have been booked in the first four months of 2010. According to CID officials who deal with cases registered against NRIs, a majority of the accused are white collar professionals including software engineers, doctors and management sector employees. According to CID IG S Umapati, about 90 percent of the accused are from US, followed by UK and Canada. The majority of the cases registered against the NRI husbands have been under section 498-A (subjecting married woman to cruelty). The other sections include, 420 (cheating ) and dowry prohibition act. In the year 2009, a total of 87 cases were registered against NRI husbands in state, 34 non-bailable warrants, three look out circulars and four red corner notices were issued. About 90 percent of these cases have been registered in the city. According to the IG, who is also an interpol liaisoning officer in the state, issuance of red corner notices had a positive effect on solving the dowry harassment cases involving an NRI husband, as most of them had been forced to come to India to face a trial. Two years ago, Interpol stopped issuing red corner notices against accused in dowry harassment cases (section 498-A of the IPC).Prior to this decision by interpol, 19 such notices were issued in 2007.

However, even after the issuance was stopped,police are trying to bring the NRI husbands to book by trying to attach their property under section 82 (proclamation for person absconding ) and section 83 (attachment of a property of a person absconding ) of CrPC. We are also trying to extradite the accused as per section 105-B of the CrPC, the IG said, adding that most of the victims return to their homeland to lodge a complaint as the marriage had taken place here and also because the concept of dowry does not exist in western societies.To prevent such tragedies,the IG said that people should do some basic background checks about the NRI bridegroom before marrying off their girls. Talk to the manager of the firm where the boy is working and also to at least two of his close friends. Send some of your people who stay in that country to verify the details. Take his passport and Visa number and be a lot more careful if he wants to marry very quickly, the IG suggests.
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Legally divorced abroad yet married in India


After three years of banging doors at each other, it was time for Prakash to end his marriage, or so he thought. Stationed at Chicago on a work permit, Prakash realised just how hassle free ending his marriage would be in a foreign court where all he had to do was cite irretrievable breakdown of marriage, a clause only being considered to be introduced in the Hindu Marriage Act. So while Prakash got the divorce decree, his shocked wife decided she wouldnt take away the Mrs from her name so easily. So, she came back home to Hyderabad and moved the local family court seeking that the Chicago court verdict be declared null and void. And she succeeded by virtue of the fact that foreign divorces are not considered valid in India unless the grounds and proceedings are in compliance with the Indian law. Also the verdict needs to be validated in India. However it is not a tangible victory. For, while the wife got her Mrs tag back, Prakash continues to live in Chicago as a single, divorced male. In legal speak, his marital status swings between married and separated, but socially he is back in the groom market looking at giving life a second chance.

Hundreds of nautical miles from Chicago, another Indian couple settled in Singapore decided to call it quits just that the wife was not quite ready, like in the Chicago case. Unwilling to accept the verdict, the wife came to India to get her divorce declared null and void. With a judgment in her favour now, declaring them to be still married, she is currently awaiting the execution of the court order. If both husband and wife agree for a divorce even in foreign land, they can get it by dissolving the marriage under the provisions of the concerned marriage act. But in cases where one of the partners does not want a divorce, a petition seeking to get it declared null and void can be filed here, said Anita Jain, family court advocate.

And this has resulted in creating a rare marital status: legally divorced abroad but married in India. Lawyers say that when individuals get married in India as per any Indian form of marriage, then the dissolution of the same should also happen through the Indian family court which has jurisdiction over the place where the marriage was solemnised. It could also be resolved in the family court which has jurisdiction over where they last stayed together. Thus, it becomes possible for couples to seek separation even when they are abroad, just that it takes a wrong direction when one of them does not consent to the separation.

But even a reversed separation decree has failed to yield much for the disgruntled women in both the mentioned cases. In case of the Singapore couple, for instance, the husband though still married to his wife as ruled by the local family court in Hyderabad, has gone ahead and tied the knot again. So whatever happens to the Mrs after she wins this court battle The woman with a nullified foreign divorce decree in hand can claim a share in the husbands property and also slap charges of dowry harassment and similar sections on the man, one reason why women continue to demand that divorces be declared null and void. It has happened in a few cases. The woman has refused to drop her married tag to be able to claim her husbands property and also ensure that he cannot visit India with pending cases against his name, says Anita Jain.

In another case, however, the aggrieved wife who got the divorce declared null and void at the Secunderabad court is now trying that the orders be served to her husband in the US. She is also trying for bigamy charges to be pressed against her husband. Not only is the process long drawn, it is almost impractical to assume that a local court summons would be binding on a person settled or working abroad.
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(source-toi)

Wockhardt may move HC on Kamineni issue

Following the dismissal of its petition under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act against Hyderabad-based Kamineni Hospitals by the Hyderabad city civil court, Mumbai-based Wockhardt Hospitals is now planning to knock on the doors of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in appeal. According to sources, Wockhardt Hospitals (WH) is expected to file an appeal against the ruling of the city civil court in the High Court soon. WH would be seeking the appointment of a receiver to manage the two Hyderabad-based Kamineni-owned hospitals under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.
The two hospitals the 160-bed King Koti hospital and the 60-bed cardiac care centre at LB Nagar hospital were being managed by Wockhardt since 2005 till December 2009 as per a 30-year relationship agreement inked by the two. Meanwhile, Wockhardt had earlier also filed an appeal in the AP HC for the appointment of an arbitrator under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act,for which hearings are yet to be held. Incidentally,though the city civil court had thrown out Wockhardts petition, it had allowed the Mumbai-based company to take possession of the hospital records and the equipment they had installed at the two Kamineni-owned hospitals at their own investment.

Wockhardt and Kamineni have been slugging it out in court for the past six months after an ugly spat broke out in December 2009 following Kamineni Hospitals pulling the plug on their 5-year partnership by taking over the running of two hospitals,which Wockhardt alleged was illegal. The Wockhardt-Kamineni partnership started cracking up in 2008 when according to the Kamineni group Wockhardt Hospitals allegedly breached the 30-year contract by showing KH assets as its own when it filed for an IPO in 2008. The cash-strapped Wockhardts Rs 909-crore deal with Fortis, promoted by erstwhile Ranbaxy promoters the Singhs,selling off 10 hospitals in a desperate attempt to settle debts of nearly Rs 600 crore too is understood to be another reason for the bad blood between the two players.
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(source-toi)

Govt orders probe against Navin Mittal

The state government on Friday ordered chief commissioner of land (CCLA) Pankaj Dwivedi to probe allegations of corruption against GHMC special commissioner Navin Mittal.The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), despite being on the Mittal trail for long,has been unable to raid the officer as he is alleged to be close to a VVIP in the current political dispensation. But a probe became inevitable after elected representatives from Hyderabad, cutting across party line, sought strong action, highly placed sources said. Mittal, an IAS officer of the 1996 batch, served as Hyderabad collector from March 24,2008 till April 06,2010.
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RTI applications force govt into action mode

The terms of reference for the CCLA inquiry into alleged misuse of power GHMC Spl commissioner Navin Mittal have not been made public, but it is learnt that they would include the complaints revolving around the misuse of GO 166 (relates to regularisation of government lands) and misuse of the district development funds. Some of the controversial prime properties that have been linked to abuse of power include a Rs 30-crore site in Bathukammakunta, a 10,000 sq yd plot at Bapunagar, a 4,000 sq yd Govt hospital land and scores of plots in Shaikpet mandal (mostly 500 sq yd and above).

The inquiry officer is likely to review all land regularisation files cleared by Navin Mittal and his immediate subordinates (joint collectors) during his two-year tenure as Hyderabad district collector.
Another major factor that forced the state to act fast was the string of applications filed under the RTI seeking information on the regularisation of various government land in favour of private parties and the file notings pertaining to certain specific controversial files cleared by Mittal. Mittal made news this year when a woman complained to the CM that the former district collector had misused his official power and regularized her land in the name of another woman without seeking any proof of ownership from the latter.Things started to fall apart for Mittal when the current district collector Natarajan Gulzar found some files pertaining to regularisation of government land missing and they mysteriously reappeared in his office last month without his signature. The voices against Mittals abuse of power grew stronger after he was made the special commissioner of GHMC. There have been allegations that he had entrusted the responsibility of clearing all controversial files to one of his subordinates.

Mittal's Service Record - Special commissioner GHMC (current position),  Collector,Hyderabad district, Collector, Krishna district, Commercial taxes deputy commissioner (Kakinada), Municipal commissioner,Visakhapatnam, ITDA project officer in Utnur (Adilabad district), Sub-collector of Mulugu (Warangal district).
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(source-toi)

Rajiv govt bailed out Anderson, hints CIA note

The suspicion that orders from the Rajiv Gandhi government at the Centre led to Union Carbide boss Warren Anderson being released from custody of the MP police have been further strengthened by a declassified CIA report. The central government was quick to release the Union Carbide chairman from house arrest yesterday said the report going back to Dec 8 1984. Giving an explanation for Centres intervention, it says: New Delhi believes state officials were overly eager to score political points against the company. Interestingly, it refers to media reports to conclude that both Centre and state governments were looking to deflect the blame on the subsidiary, the observation suggesting that the American intelligence agency did not hold the MNC primarily responsible for the worst-ever industrial disaster. Though the report, not surprisingly, skips any reference to diplomatic intervention as has been alleged in some quarters, it makes a strong suggestion that suggests that in releasing Anderson, Arjun Singh, the then CM of MP,acted on the Centres orders.

The report notes that criticism over the Bhopal disaster was directed at the Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide and the central government for inadequate safety measures and poor relief, and that a case of negligence was filed. Since the note is written some 26 years ago and declassified only in January 2002, it reflects what must be assessment of CIA station in New Delhi. The CIA note points to what it sees as attempts by Indian government to wring compensation from the subsidiarys US-based parent company, it makes the point that fast approaching national elections had also influenced ruling Congress. But the reports author also says that the incident would not unduly influence the elections. The assessment of the electoral fallout is contained in a separate note.

The Bhopal debate has unexpectedly set off the churn within the Congress with leaders from MP seeming to engage in a score-settling exercise.Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh issued a lengthy clarification on Friday, but the damage had been done as more statements followed. There was P C Alexander, former Maharashtra governor and former principal secretary to Rajiv Gandhi, who said that while PMO officials were in the dark about Anderson, the late leader was possibly in direct touch with Arjun Singh on the matter.
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Congress puts Arjun in the dock - Rajiv Govt Had No Role In Release Of Former Union Carbide Chief

The controversy over the culpability for the surprise release of Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson after the Bhopal gas tragedy took a serious turn on Friday, with the Congress leadership moving in vigorously to absolve the Rajiv Gandhi government of any responsibility in the shameful episode. "I categorically deny involvement of the then central government", Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan asserted on Friday, in a statement that puts the focus squarely on the role of the Arjun Singh-led Madhya Pradesh government in the Anderson episode and is a directive to leaders like Digvijay Singh to walk straight and narrow on the sensitive issue. Digvijay, who has attracted the displeasure of the central leadership with remarks that were interpreted to suggest that Anderson was released at the instance of the Centre and the US,has already got the hint.In statements to agencies and channels, he forcefully claimed that Rajiv Gandhi had no role to play in Anderson being set free within hours of his arrest. An agency report quoted him as saying, The people who can answer this are Arjun Singh, then chief secretary Brahm Swaroop ,Bhopal collector Moti Singh and SP of Bhopal Swaraj Puri. Digvijay made it a point to mention that Rajiv Gandhi, who was campaigning,had immediately left electioneering to visit Bhopal. Whether the effort was adequate to placate a party not known to be forgiving towards discretions about the leadership was not clear. But there was no mistaking the anger over the name of Rajiv Gandhi being dragged into the controversy.

What has aggravated ire is that in the press confernces he addressed in New Delhi and Bhopal after Andersons release, Arjun Singh not just took full responsibility for Andersons release but also defended the action of the state government.On December 8,1984, Arjun Singh told media in Delhi that Anderson was released as the police felt that his presence was not required in the investigations in progress. He also quoted from the provisions of Andersons bail bond to say that the former CEO of Union Carbide was obliged to come to India whenever it was necessary. Talking to the media in Bhopal the next day, he denied the Rajiv Gandhi government had a role in Andersons release,stressing that he merely briefed the Centre. The former chief minister also said that the release was well within the four conrners of law.
Where is the room for people to speculate in the light of all this, asked an irate Congressman. In upping the ante, Congress leadership also does not seem to be bothered about what some partymen call the threat perception of Arjun Singh.Smarting over being sidelined despite the ultra-loyalist tag, Arjun Singh can put a spoke in the leaderships works. The dominant estimate,however,is that the shrewd Thakur will privilege caution over adventurism and will let the suspense persist.
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CCPA meet skirted Andersons release - PC Alexander Says Then PM Didnt Even Pull Up MP Govt For Allowing Him To Leave India

Adding another controversial twist to the Bhopal gas disaster case, PC Alexander, former principal secretary to late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, on Friday said the release of Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson from custody within six hours of his arrest on December 7,1984 was not discussed by the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) convened in the wake of the tragedy. Neither did the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) pull up the state government for allowing Anderson to leave the country,Alexander told. The CCPA, which met at 3am on December 10,1984 (3 days after Andersons release) at Prime Ministers house, did not discuss Andersons release at all. No question was raised by anybody about Anderson, he said. The meeting was attended by the five seniormost ministers in the cabinet including the Prime Minister, finance minister, home minister and external affairs minister, he said. Then MP chief minister Arjun Singh was a special invitee to the CCPA meeting, Alexander recalled, adding he was not aware if Rajiv Gandhi and Singh had separate discussions on Andersons release either before or after the CCPA meeting. Alexander, leading a quiet, retired life in Chennai, has found himself in the spotlight due to media reports recalling the circumstances under which Anderson was released on bail and allowed to fly out of the country. The role of Arjun Singh, in particular, in the Anderson affair needed more clarity, he said.

Doubts about Rajivs role also persist owing to the fact that the PMO did not even pull up the state government for aiding Andersons hasty release.I was in the Prime Ministers office till January 18,1985 (45 days after the tragedy). Till I left, the PMO did not raise the issue of Andersons release with the state government. I do not know whether the PMO raised the issue with the state government after I left Prime Ministers office, he said. Recalling the CCPA meeting, Alexander said, Rajiv had just returned from an election tour.When I reached Prime Ministers house,Arjun Singh was already there. I spent 18 minutes with the Prime Minister after the CCPA meeting to discuss other important issues. When I left PMs house, Singh was still there. I do not know what they discussed between them, he said adding that it is strange to believe that the Prime Minister took a personal decision, owing to pressure, to release Anderson. I did not have an idea that Rajiv was under pressure. But it is also difficult for civil servants like me to assess as to why a political leader behaves in a particular manner.

Alexander went on a four-month leave in January 1985 and was subsequently appointed Indian High Commissioner in London. Alexander said in such cases, it is the state governments responsibility to decide on the release of an arrested person. The fact that he was arrested and released in haste, points to the fact that there are some missing links in the case. Arjun Singh should reveal as to how Anderson was allowed to escape, he noted. The Times of India on Friday reported that Arjun Singh, in 1984, had owned responsibility for Andersons release. However, Singh is silent now.
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Angry citizens unite on social network sites

The worlds worst industrial disaster at Bhopal is uniting angry citizens on social networking sites to demand justice for the victims .On the forefront is the international campaign by Bhopal. Net which is urging people to write, fax or simply call the prime minister and demand for the extradition of Warren Anderson. The site says Union Carbide chief Anderson knew about the cost-cutting measures undertaken at the Bhopal plant that jeopardised safety despite a fatal accident inside the plant in December 1981, one worker, Ashraf Khan, died due to gas exposure. The activists also have copies of telex messages shared between Union Carbide officials that throw light on how safety of the Bhopal gas plant was compromised by even switching off the refrigeration to save around US $ 37 dollars.
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Rajiv was never under US pressure


Adding yet another dimension to raging debate over release of Union Carbide boss Warren Anderson,  a close aide of Rajiv Gandhi on Friday said there was no way the late PM could have acted under US pressure to release him after the Bhopal gas tragedy. If Indira Gandhi had defied Nixon, would Rajiv come under US pressure to set Anderson free, R K Dhawan, who had served Rajiv Gandhi as his special assistant, told. He was responding to a question about the possibility of the Centre succumbing to pressure from Washington. Talking to TOI, Dhawan claimed that no call had gone from the PM to Arjun Singh to set the American free within hours of his arrest in Bhopal on December 7,1984. All incoming and outgoing calls from the PM had to be routed through me since there were no mobile phones those days, Dhawan said.

Revisiting the aftermath of the industrial disaster, he said that Rajiv, who had been out on the campaign trail when the tragedy struck, rushed to Bhopal to oversee relief operations.With all the conviction at my command, I can say that after his return from Bhopal, Rajiv Gandhi made no calls to Arjun Singh, nor did he receive any from the chief minister, Dhawan said. He recalled that the Union government had not been intimated by the MP government about its move to set Anderson free. Dhawan, a longtime aide of Indira Gandhi, later served Rajiv twice immediately after he became PM following his mothers assassination and subsequently, towards the end of his term. Explaining Andersons exit from India, Dhawan said that since there had been no red alert against Anderson, Centre did not have responsibility to track his movement. It was not for the Prime Minister to keep a track of his whereabouts, Dhawan added. Targeting Arjun Singh, Dhawan questioned the decision to provide a state government plane for Andersons passage from Bhopal to Delhi. No state plane can be used without the knowledge and approval of the chief minister, he said.
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(source-toi)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cabinet approves the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill - Hindu Marriage Act

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Union Cabinet today approved the introduction of a Bill, namely, the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 to further amend the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Special Marriage Act, 1954, to provide therein irretrievable break down of marriage as a ground of divorce. The Bill would provide safeguards to parties to marriage who file petition for grant of divorce by consent from the harassment in court if any of the party does not come to the court or wilfully avoids the court to keep the divorce proceedings inconslusive.

At present, various grounds for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce are laid down in section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. The grounds inter alia include adultery, cruelty, desertion, conversion to another religion, unsoundness of mind, virulent and incurable form of leprosy, venereal disease in a communicable form, renouncement of the world and not heard as being alive for a period of seven years or more. Section 27 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 also lays down similar grounds.

However, section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act and Section 28 of the Special Marriage Act provide for divorce by mutual consent as a ground for presenting a petition for dissolution of marriage. The said sections inter alia provide that a petition for dissolution of marriage by mutual consent, if not withdrawn before six months after its presentation or not later than 18 months, then, the court may, on being satisfied after making inquiry, grant decree of divorce by mutual consent. However, it has been observed that the parties who have filed petition for mutual consent suffer in case one of the parties abstains himself or herself from court proceedings and keeps the divorce proceedings inconclusive. This has been causing considerable hardship to the party in dire need of divorce.

Incidentally, it may be pertinent to point out here that such a legal proposition has been recommended by the Law Commission of India in its 217th report on ‘Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage – Another Ground for Divorce’. Further, the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in the case of Ms. Jorden Diengdeh Vs. S.S. Chopra reported in AIR 1985 SC 935 and in the case of Naveen Kohli Vs. Neelu Kohli reported in AIR 2006 SC 1675, has observed and recommended that irretrievable breakdown of marriage should be incorporated as another ground for grant of divorce.
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(Posted by Nandhi at 6/11/2010 05:40:00 AM)

1 comments: Anonymous said...

This was due to the pressure of Sushil Shinde's daughter's case. Laws are changed to suit politicians.

June 11, 2010 12:48 PM
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(source-CG Employees news)
(source-saakshi)

Stripping case: Three cops suspended, probe ordered

Three police personnel, including a woman head constable, were suspended and an ASI transferred on Thursday after the Delhi Police ordered a probe into allegations of policemen forcing a woman to strip in front of her son during an investigation. The woman residing in a slum in Delhi had filed a complaint with Delhi police commissioner YS Dadwal. According to the complainant,the incident took place in the last week of May in the presence of a woman police personnel.PTI
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NCW seeks report

National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken cognisance of a TOI report saying a 30-year-old woman was allegedly forced to strip in the presence of her minor son at a Delhi police station. NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said she had written to Delhi Police asking for a report in the matter by June 17. The commission has set up an inquiry committee under Wansuk Syiem. The inquiry committee will look into the circumstances leading to the incident.
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(source-toi)

Wanted Lankan minister may be put on watch list

Chennai police have confirmed the details of the criminal cases pending against Sri Lankan minister Douglas Devananda, part of the delegation of Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Tamil Nadu. Sources in the ministry of external affairs said Devananda was not on any watch list of visitors with criminal records. However, now, in view of all this,he is likely to be put on a watch list, a source said, referring to the TOI report on Thursday that Devananda was a proclaimed offender in connection with a murder in Chennai in November 1986.

If there is anything legal, I am prepared to face it, Devananda told reporters in Delhi. When contacted by TOI, he said he was surprised by the furore because he was given to understand that he enjoyed amnesty under the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of 1987. He said he had made several visits to Delhi and Chennai since he was elected an MP in 1994 and subsequently became a minister for traditional industries and small enterprises development, representing the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party in the Rajapaksa cabinet. I have been coming to India for political, official and medical reasons for years, Devananda told TOI from Shimla. Devananda had been charged with murder,attempt to murder and rioting in the 1986 case following the death of a person in gunfire by the separatist Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) at Choolaimedu in Chennai. The minister also faces a couple of cases for kidnapping and criminal intimidation dating back to the years when he spearheaded the militant pro-Tamil movement.
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(source-toi)

Cabinet clears amendment to Hindu Marriage Act

With amendments on the anvil to make divorce easier for Hindus, a similar move may be underway for Sikhs. The Cabinet on Thursday cleared amendments to the Hindu Marriage Act and the Special Marriage Act, allowing the provision of irretrievable breakdown of marriage to be included as ground for divorce. Sources said a similar provision could be added to the draft Sikh Marriage Act that is currently under consideration with the law ministry. At present, Sikhs are governed by the Anand Marriage Act of 1909 which the draft bill seeks to replace. It is learnt that sports minister MS Gill intervened in the discussion on Hindu Marraige Act to say that similar provision for irretrievable breakdown of marriage should be made for Sikhs, adding that Anand Marriage Act was 50 years older.
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(source-toi)

Goa ex-mantri booked for culpable homicide - Pachecos Anticipatory Bail Plea Rejected

A local court rejected former Goa tourism minister Francisco Mickky Pachecos anticipatory bail on Thursday, as police booked him for culpable homicide and destruction of evidence in the death of his close friend ,Nadia Torrada. Pacheco has been on the run since he was questioned after Nadia (28) died allegedly after consuming rodent poison. The court noted that injuries on Nadias body indicated that the poison might have been forcibly given to her or she might have been induced to consume it. The material collected by the prosecution ruled out the possibility of (Nadia) consuming the rodent poison by mistake which intensifies the gravity of the offence, said the court. The truth can be revealed only by specific interrogation. The presence of Pacheco in the house of the deceased hasnt been properly explained during interrogation. The order said the material collected points to grave suspicion and involvement of Pacheco and therefore it cannot be said that the prosecution is trying to unnecessarily harass him. It noted the prosecution has collected sufficient evidence to show that Pacheco was with Nadia a day before her death and that he alone would be able to disclose what transpired between them. Nadias family members arent disclosing the true facts regarding the injuries on her body, it added.

Public prosecutor Sarojini Sardinha said Nadias statement before a magistrate in Mumbai, where she was shifted for treatment, that she mistakenly took some part of Ratol paste on her toothbrush was incorrect and appears to have been given under duress. She said Nadia had multiple injuries on forearms, legs, lips, chest. The doctors opined the injuries were sustained before she consumed poison. Sardinha pointed that the crime branch had interrogated Pacheco and that he was reluctant to cooperate and disclose facts. The interrogation was incomplete and hence he was called the next day but he failed to appear and is absconding. Earlier, police said Pachecos aide Lyndon Monteiro was made co-accused in the case along with Nadias mother, Sonia. Lyndon is absconding as well and the cops have issued a lookout circular for him.Police spokesperson AV Deshpande said the hunt for Pacheco was on. We have inciminating evidence against him, he said.
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(source-toi)

Mission Undertrial: Prisons in India shed flab - Nearly A Lakh Undertrials Freed In 3 Months; AP Ranks 3rd; Moilys Mission On Track To Meet July 31 Deadline

The countrys overflowing prisons just got a little less crowded with nearly one lakh undertrial prisoners being freed on bail, that too in just 3 months. Of the over 1.70 lakh people booked for petty offences and kept in jail for years, many have been behind bars for longer than the maximum punishment for offence had there been a conviction. India has around 1500 jails having a capacity to lodge 2.50 lakh prisoners, but they house close to 3.50 lakh inmates. As many as 70% of jail population is made up of undertrials, which means their number could be pegged at 2.45 lakh. As 70% of undertrial prisoners are booked for petty offences, this category in jails would be 1.70 lakh.


When law minister Veerappa Moily announced his Mission Undertrial plan on January 16 to release or settle cases of 75% of prisoners facing trial for years for petty offences, many were sceptical of the idea while others termed it as a tall claim. He had fixed a sixmonth deadline for the scheme. Surprisingly, Moilys efforts in sensitising state governments about violation of fundamental rights of these undertrial prisoners has yielded results. By April 31, nearly a lakh undertrial prisoners across the country had either been released or their cases taken to the logical conclusion conviction or acquittal in just three months making 2010 a watershed as far as prisons and human rights are concerned.

The highest number of prisoners, 29009 was released in Uttar Pradesh accounting for almost onethird of the total. It was followed by Orissa (13,664), Andhra Pradesh (9,116), Delhi (8,701), Maharashtra (7,252), MP 6252, Haryana (3,219), Gujarat (3,101), Karnataka (2,423), Kerala (2,334), Punjab (2,169), J&K (1,360) and Jharkhand (1,343). The worst performing state in terms of releasing prisoners was West Bengal, which released only 287 of them and that too in February and none thereafter. Tamil Nadu also did not appear to be sensitive enough to the rights of prisoners as only 608 were released. Under Mission Undertrial, Moily attempted to end traditional apathy towards undertrials by police, prison authorities and judiciary by writing to chief justices of High Courts requesting them to facilitate early release of these prisoners. The mission was launched on January 26, Law Day.

Moily said various ways were adopted to allow the languishing undertrials to get out of prison plea bargaining system in which the undertrial accepts guilt and the court records conviction and releases him by sentencing him to a period of imprisonment already undergone, expediting their cases by holding trials on a day-to-day basis and holding court proceedings inside prison premises or through video-conferencing. To ensure that there was no hitch from the government, Moily divided the country into various zones and put an additional solicitor general in charge of it to ensure that the first actual legal reform releasing undertrials was very successful.
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HC toughens stand on Maytas Infra works

Noting that state government seems to have become allergic to the idea of adhering to the constitutional provisions, AP High Court on Thursday summoned authorities to get measurement (M) book pertaining to construction of a community hall in Kadapa district which was being shown on paper as a work whose construction was completed by Maytas Infra company. The division bench comprising Justice Goda Raghuram and Justice Naushad Ali made this order while hearing a petition that challenged the  entrustment of huge number of rehabilitation and reconstruction works in Kadapa and elsewhere to Maytas Infra on nomination basis and not on the basis of open tenders. The state government has been maintaining that it has not shown any favouritism towards Maytas but only entrusted the rehabilitation works to the main contractors involved in the construction of Galeru Nagari Sujala Sravanthi irrigation project.

As part of this project, the height enhancement of Gandikota reservoir was awarded to Maytas Infra and as this enhancement would result in submergence of nearby villages,the resultant rehabilitation works are also entrusted to Maytas, special government counsel N Sridhar Reddy said. This when their open tenders received no response from the contractors, he said. Several works are now complete and some of them are partially done. If we do not make payments now then they will not complete the rest of the works, the counsel said and sought the courts permission to go ahead in this regard because an earlier stay imposed on them was stopping them. Counsel for the petitioner P Veera Reddy refuted these claims and told the court that a community hall said to have been completed in Obulapuram village of Kadapa district is not completed and in fact alleged that the work had not even begun in that village.

The bench then summoned the M book and warned the authorities that it would order a probe into the matter if necessary. If there is no response to your tender notification in one district, you cannot entrust works on nomination basis in all districts showing the nil response in one district as a pretext, the bench told the state. The matter would come up for hearing on Monday again.
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HC raps SBH in mortgage case


Rapping State Bank of Hyderabad  officials for attempting to take possession of a mortgaged property in an arbitrary manner,the AP High Court on Thursday quashed the possession proceedings launched by the bank and directed it to act afresh in accordance with the provisions of the Securitisation Act. The court also slapped on the bank costs of the litigation and directed them to pay Rs 5,000 towards costs. The division bench comprising Justice Goda Raghuram and Justice Naushad Ali delivered this verdict after hearing a petition filed by one G Prabhakar of Hyderabad who charged authorities of SBHs Shapurnagar and Ramkoti branches with negligence and lack of responsibility in their approach. His contention was that though he did not take any loan from the bank,nor mortgaged any asset with the bank for availing loan, bank authorities were trying to take possession of the property owned by his daughter. The bench directed the bank to hand over the possession of the mortgaged asset to the petitioner immediately.
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Woman claims cops made her strip before son

A 30-year-old woman has alleged that cops at a west Delhi police post forced her to strip in presence of her son and demanded that she have sex with him, all because the 12-year-old boy had been accused of stealing money from a car. Mayuri, a resident of Mayapuri slum cluster, claimed that police officers and a woman constable were present at the post when the incident took place. She has lodged a written complaint with the police commissioner. The area DCP, Sharad Aggarwal, has order an inquiry into the incident. The local police deny the charge and say the boy was a member of a gang that targets cars at traffic lights and was taken into custody in a burglary case.

Mayuri and her 45-year-old husband Satish (all names changed) said they learned on May 22 that both their sons, Raju (12) and Ramesh (10) had been detained by the police. When they went to the police,  the cops allegedly abused them though they met the boys in police custody. The couple returned the next day to try and get the sons freed. Thats when the real ordeal began, the family claims. Said Mayuri, after confining us to one room, one of the constables took my husband and younger son out of the room and locked it from inside. Then they started questioning me and Raju about the stolen goods, asking us to return Rs 6,000 which they alleged my son had stolen from a women's car.

When the duo denied the charge, a constable allegedly asked the woman to strip. When I refused, the constable started beating me with his lathi and forced me to take my clothes off, said Mayuri. According to the victim, the torture didnt end there. One of the cops stepped up and asked me to have sex with my son. Then one of the constables asked me to have sex with him instead. We begged for our life. Finally, after about one or two hours, they released us, she said. The west district police, however, refuses to buy the allegations. We took suo motu action after we received the complaint. If we wanted, we could have hushed up the case. However, we have decided for a full investigation of the incident, said a senior district officer.
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Another Haryana ex-IGP walks free in molestation case

Chandigarh/Yamunanagar: Yet another tainted top cop walks free in Haryana, with former IGP MS Ahlawat, under fire for allegedly molesting a woman in 2002, evading arrest even after an FIR was lodged in Yamunanagar against him on Tuesday, eight years after the incident. Even as the country boils over in anger against former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore convicted for molesting Ruchika Girhotra in 1990 when she was 14 for having roamed free for almost 20 years before he was sent to jail, Haryana police seem to wary of arresting Ahlawat, who was then Yamunanagar SP.

The victim Arvinder Kaur had met Ahlawat in 2002 after she was threatened by some of the accused in a dowry case lodged against her husband. On Wednesday, both Haryana home minister Gopal Kanda and DGP RS Dalal refused to answer calls from TOI. Ahlawat too could not be contacted. It took more than eight years to lodge an FIR against Ahlawat despite a long-struggle by the victim,now 36. While a number of inquiry committees were set up by the Haryana government in this period, yet another probe was ordered on Tuesday by a police team. Ahlawat has been charged with outraging modesty of a woman, assault and criminal inmidation. We will arrest the accused as soon as we get any substantial evidence against him, Yamunanagar SP Sibash Kabiraj told TOI.A high-level probe team,headed by a DIG was investigating the matter and decision on filing an FIR was pending at a higher level, said Kabiraj, when asked why an FIR was not lodged in eight years. A special team has been set up to look into the case on Wednesday.It has collected all the documents from the state headquarters.

We will find out why the case was not registered in last eight years, said Kabiraj, who is monitoring the progress of the case. The delay, however, has left people enraged. They should have registered the FIR immediately as in cognizable offences,police are duty bound to register an FIR as per Section 154 of CrPC, said Kulbir Singh Dhaliwal, advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The complainant Arvinder Kaur, a lawyer herself, is not satisfied with police action on her complaint and said that Ahlawat should have been booked for attempt to rape. He (Ahlawat) took me to his bed room at his official residence of Yamunanagar where he attempted to rape me. However, I managed to escape from his clutches. So, he must be booked for attempt to rape in place of outraging the modesty of a woman, said Arvinder Kaur. The FIR has been registered on the basis of complaint of 2008, though, the case should have been lodged on the basis of my latest complaint submitted to chief minister MBS Hooda on last Saturday at his Chandigarh residence, she added. The SP said that they can add more sections in the FIR, if the charges proved during the police probe.
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I dont want to enter into verbal duel with Dikshit: Patil

Punjab governor Shivraj Patil on Wednesday refused to respond to indication by chief minister Sheila Dikshit that he as Union home minister wanted the Delhi government to delay clearance of the mercy petition file of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. When asked to respond to Dikshit's hint, Patil said he did not want to enter into any verbal duel with the Delhi chief minister. The mercy petition file of Afzal Guru was sent to the home ministry by Lt. Governor Tejinder Khanna last week after receiving it from Delhi government on May 18. The city government whose opinion was sought by the home ministry had been dillydallying on the matter for nearly four years and the capital punishment given to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab in the Mumbai terror attacks case brought the issue under fresh focus. It was after the 16th reminder from the Union home ministry the city government sent the file to L-G's office for him to take a call in the matter.
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SAFEGUARDS - Amendments to Marriage Act: Experts wary of pitfalls

With experts warning of pitfalls in the proposed amendments To Hindu Marriage Act,1955, the Centre has decided to consider other grounds for divorce. But several other experts warned of pitfalls in the proposed law. Eminent lawyer Kamini Jaiswal felt the amendment may not be a "bad idea'' for urban women wanting to opt out of a relationship, but it may adversely impact rural women who have few options. "I feel there should be a comprehensive look at all laws relating to maintenance and alimony instead of a piecemeal look at one amendment,''she added. Kirti Singh, former Law Commission member described the amendment as "disastrous'' if it came without adequate safeguards. "The amendment should only be brought when women are given adequate share in household assets and maintenance. Most women get a pittance from the courts and most do not want to get out of a marriage only because there is nothing to sustain them outside it,'' she said, adding that this would only provide relief to men.

According to existing Hindu Marriage Act,1955, divorce can be granted on three grounds, matrimonial fault, divorce by mutual consent and frustration due to specified circumstances. According to the first ground, marriage can be dissolved when either spouse has committed a matrimonial offence. Under this provision, it is necessary to have a guilty and an innocent party in matrimonial dispute and only the innocent party can seek divorce. Divorce on mutual consent is based on the fact that since two persons can marry on their free will, they should also be allowed to move out of their relationship if both agree to do so. Under "frustration by reason of specified circumstances'', divorce can be granted to a person whose spouse has met with "civil death'' disappeared without a trace for at least seven years, or renounced the world.

The Law Commission in its report points out that the ground of matrimonial fault is not always sufficient for divorce and may cause injustice in disputes where the marriage cannot work although none of the parties is at fault, or the fault is of such a nature that the parties to the marriage do not want to reveal it. The report suggests that in such circumstances, it will be in the interest of justice to dissolve the marriage through the proposed amendment.
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Post-retirement, Justice Ahmedi headed Bhopal Trust

It is by now well known that a bench led by then Chief Justice of India diluted the harsh sections of the IPC invoked against the Bhopal Gas case accused by the Central Bureau of Investigations in the year 1996. What however has not received due attention is the fact that soon after he retired in 1997, Justice AM Ahmedi was appointed chairman for life of Bhopal Memorial Trust Hospital. Justice Ahmedi was conferred with this post retirement responsibility by the Supreme Court itself - a decision that was decried by victims of the tragedy and organisations fighting for justice for the victims.

The hospital was formed after an SC bench in 1991 asked the Union Carbide Corporation to pay up for its liability in the industrial disaster and help in setting up a world class hospital ensuring relief and rehabilitation of gas victims.SC had in view a 500 bed hospital catering to long term medical care of survivors. A year after the SC directive,UCC went on to create a Bhopal Hospital Trust (BHT) in the United Kingdom and made its former attorney the sole trustee. But when as contribution,the corporation only coughed up US $ 1000 the Indian shares of the firm were sold off to fund the construction of the hospital. These shares had been seized by the Bhopal district court when it was informed that the company was unwilling to submit to its jurisdiction. It took another six years for the hospital to begin functioning with Justice Ahmedi at its helm.

Despite repeated attempts to contact him on the issue and seek his opinion, Justice Ahmedi remained unavailable for comments on Tuesday. A day earlier,the former CJI had defended his decision (by citing the law) to reduce the charge on the accused from the stringent section 304 to section 304A that carries lighter penalty, ensuring none of the accused has to spend even a night in jail.

Speaking to TOI on the issue Prashant Bhushan, a lawyer who has doggedly taken on the judiciary on issues like judicial appointments, took a dim view of the fact that Justice Ahmedi is chairman of the Trust. While technically there is no conflict of interest involved as he was appointed by the SC and not the Union Carbide, still I agree that a CJI shouldnt have been appointed Chairman, Bhushan said.
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Govt mulls new ground for divorce

New Delhi: Sparring couples may now have a way out of their misery without having to go through the blame game. The Cabinet on Thursday is expected to consider a proposal to amend matrimonial laws for making irretrievable breakdown of marriage a ground for divorce. The proposal moved by law ministry suggests amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act,1955, and Special Marriage Act,1954, to add the new basis for granting divorce. Breakdown of marriage is currently not a ground for divorce despite several Supreme Court verdicts favouring it and the Law Commission recommending that it be included in the provision of the law.

The amendment will enable couples to get divorce if one of them refuses to live with the other and will not work towards reconciliation, and the court is convinced that there is no hope of the two leading a normal matrimonial life. The legal fraternity seems to be split over the proposed amendment. Some experts feel that growing individuality in society has contributed to an increasing number of cases ending at the divorce court with both parties dishing out dirty laundry. The amendment would make parting of ways less bitter.
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Govt agrees to cut down stamp duty


Hyderabad: The state government has in principle agreed to reduce stamp duty from 7% to 5% after taking into consideration various factors,including the enhancement of land value in commercial areas and tier-II cities across the state. Stamps minister Gade Venkat Reddy said on Wednesday that officials of the stamps and registration department were readying proposals to reduce the stamp duty keeping in mind the revenue targets set for the department in the budget. The minister said the registration charges were periodically reduced from 13.5 per cent to 11 per cent and then to 9.5 per cent since August 2005 under pressure from the Centre,which wanted a uniform stamp duty of 5% across the country. However, the transfer fee (2%) and registration fee (0.5%) would remain the same.

He said there was delay in making formal announcement in this regard as department had an ambitious target of Rs 3,546 crore, keeping in mind the revenue loss it was likely to suffer in the wake of reduction in stamp duty this year. Last year, the stamps and registration departments collections were around Rs 2,500 crore against a projection of Rs 3,224 crore, the minister said.
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Law soon to allow class action suit for huge damages: Moily


Taking the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict and the paltry compensation for victims as a huge lesson, law minister Veerappa Moily has proposed a radical law that would bind corporate bodies with vicarious liability both under criminal and civil laws and allow class action suit to be brought against them. Our courts are very conservative in awarding damages to victims in situations like Bhopal gas disaster. How can one apply accident claim criteria in such situations. We do not want charity from the courts and so want to empower the victims to bring in class action suits to claim adequate damages against corporate bodies held responsible for such catastrophes, he said. In law, a class action or a representative action is a form of lawsuit where a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court and/or where a class of defendants are being sued. This form of collective lawsuit originated in the US, but has been embraced by other countries. In several European countries with civil laws different from the English common law principle (which is used by US courts), changes have in recent years been made that allow consumer organisations to bring claims on behalf of large groups of consumers. What is more radical in the proposed law is that it would allow vicarious criminal liability on companies for acts of negligence and deficient actions leading to loss of human lives.

The minister said there was an urgent need to codify the Tort Laws in India as we do not have a law to fasten liability on corporate bodies. He also underlined the serious deficiency in the Public Liability Insurance Act which needed to be addressed quickly to allow fastening of unlimited liability on corporate bodies that were responsible for disasters involving death and injury to large number of persons. Moily said that to punish the convicts in the Bhopal case under Section 304A was a travesty of justice, and that there was an urgent need to frame a new law to bring to book the culprits and provide heavy punishment.
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