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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

LEGAL NEWS & JUDGMENTS 07.04.2009

Say no to second appeals: SC
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=HomePage&id=d5814e90-cbcd-49e8-9b30-9d1807600890&Headline=Say+no+to+second+appeals%3a+SC
Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, April 06, 2009
The Supreme Court has advised high courts not to admit civil appeals for hearing in a routine manner as it “is one of the main reasons of delay in the administration of justice in civil matters”.
Pointing out that the practice of high courts to entertain second appeals ignoring statutory provisions is the main reason behind the large backlog of cases, a bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari asked high courts to show “reasonable restraint” before admitting appeals.
The court drew attention to section 100 of the Civil Procedure Code (as amended in 1976), according to which if the judgment by the appeal court and lower court is similar, a second appeal should be admitted only if a “substantial question of law” is involved.
“It must be clearly understood that the… legislature never wanted second appeal to become ‘third trial on facts’ or ‘one more dice in the gamble’,” the SC said. The Law Commission, too, in its 54th report said that in civil cases there should be only two hearings on facts — one before the trial court and the other before the first appellate court.
The SC set aside an Andhra Pradesh High Court order that had reversed the concurrent findings of the trial court and the first appellate court in a contract case and asked the high court to first frame the question of law before deciding it afresh. It said high courts were not supposed to entertain a second appeal and launch a fresh fact-finding exercise, even if the two similar rulings of the lower courts happened to be erroneous on facts.
“A search for absolute truth in the administration of justice, however, laudable, must be put under some reasonable restraint. A search for truth has to be reconciled with the doctrine of finality,” it said, adding, “Even litigants have to be protected against too persistent a pursuit of their goal of perfectly satisfactory justice.”



Property tax on private school bldgs challenged
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Property-tax-on-private-school-bldgs-challenged/articleshow/4367630.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0352 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The legality of a state amendment, which enables local bodies to collect property tax for unaided school buildings where self-financing courses are conducted, has been challenged in the Madras high court. Justice V Ramasubramanian, before whom the writ petition was filed by advocate R Suresh Kumar on behalf of the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Managements Association, ordered notices to the Rural Development Department on Monday. The matter will come up for further hearing on April 8. The petition challenged the amendment made to Rule 15(c) of the Tamil Nadu Village Panchayats (Assessments and Collection of Taxes) Rules 1999. By virtue of the amendment, which came into effect from March 5, 2008, self-financing institutions running without any aid from the government should pay house/property tax for buildings that are used by them. The rule exempts aided private institutions from paying the tax to local bodies. Only recently, the high court had dismissed a batch of writ petitions that challenged demand notices issued by various local bodies seeking tax and arrears from unaided educational institutions in their jurisdiction. While the earlier batch of petitions was against specific demand notices, the present petition filed by the association challenges the very validity of the amendment which empowers the local bodies to issue such notices. The petition, filed by the association president D Chrisdass, contended that the government sought to discriminate between aided and unaided private institutions. Noting that it was unfair to exclude the unaided institutions from the purview of the exemption clause, the association said the already over-burdened private institutions would be forced to pay up huge amount towards taxes. Besides seeking a stay on the operation of the March 5, 2008 order, the petitioner-association wanted the court to declare the amendment as unconstitutional.





Rape accused gets 10-yr RI
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Vadodara/Rape-accused-gets-10-yr-RI/articleshow/4367416.cms
6 Apr 2009, 2304 hrs IST
VADODARA: A fast-track court in the city sentenced a rape accused to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on Monday. According to the case details, accused Nagin Parmar raped a married woman on November 15, 2007, while her husband was away in Muval village of Savali taluka. The victim, a mother of two children, had gone to fetch water from an orchard where Parmar accosted her. Parmar took her to a secluded place and raped her. When her husband returned, Parmar fled the place. Parmar was arrested after the woman lodged a complaint against him. Pronouncing the judgement, fast-track court judge SM Kapadiya observed that though no medical evidence of rape was available, the accused cannot be acquitted, as medical evidence is not a conclusive evidence. The court also took forensic science laboratory's report, police complaint and eye witnesses' statements into account while pronouncing the judgement. Source: Sandesh




Property tax on private school bldgs challenged
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Property-tax-on-private-school-bldgs-challenged/articleshow/4367630.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0352 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The legality of a state amendment, which enables local bodies to collect property tax for unaided school buildings where self-financing courses are conducted, has been challenged in the Madras high court. Justice V Ramasubramanian, before whom the writ petition was filed by advocate R Suresh Kumar on behalf of the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Managements Association, ordered notices to the Rural Development Department on Monday. The matter will come up for further hearing on April 8. The petition challenged the amendment made to Rule 15(c) of the Tamil Nadu Village Panchayats (Assessments and Collection of Taxes) Rules 1999. By virtue of the amendment, which came into effect from March 5, 2008, self-financing institutions running without any aid from the government should pay house/property tax for buildings that are used by them. The rule exempts aided private institutions from paying the tax to local bodies. Only recently, the high court had dismissed a batch of writ petitions that challenged demand notices issued by various local bodies seeking tax and arrears from unaided educational institutions in their jurisdiction. While the earlier batch of petitions was against specific demand notices, the present petition filed by the association challenges the very validity of the amendment which empowers the local bodies to issue such notices. The petition, filed by the association president D Chrisdass, contended that the government sought to discriminate between aided and unaided private institutions. Noting that it was unfair to exclude the unaided institutions from the purview of the exemption clause, the association said the already over-burdened private institutions would be forced to pay up huge amount towards taxes. Besides seeking a stay on the operation of the March 5, 2008 order, the petitioner-association wanted the court to declare the amendment as unconstitutional.




HC seeks concrete plan against begging
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/HC-seeks-concrete-plan-against-begging/articleshow/4367121.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0513 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the NCT government to start two more mobile courts within four weeks to curb the begging menace on city roads. The Court also asked the director of social welfare who was present in court to place before it a "concrete action plan'' by May 4, the next date for further hearing in the case to outline how it plans to deal with this problem threatening Delhi in the run up to the Commonwealth Games next year. HC had on the last date of hearing, summoned the director to appear and explain what the government had in mind. On Monday, the court was not satisfied and asked the government to bring a "concrete plan''. Appearing for the government, standing counsel Mukta Gupta told a division bench of justices B D Ahmed and P K Bhasin that the NCT government has sanctioned only two mobile courts and is waiting for the High Court to depute two magistrates for manning these courts. Earlier, the bench had pulled up the government for delay in complying with the court's previous order for setting up four mobile courts for cases related to begging. HC said coercion by adult guardians to beg must be dealt with in the same way as other forms of child labour and the authorities must take care as not to criminalize the parents or children, but should try to enforce the fundamental right to education and open residential schools for them. The court said if begging mafias existed in any city, they could be dealt with strictly by imposing section 363(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which effectively deals with crimes relating to kidnapping and forcing the children for begging. No other special law was required for such crimes, the court said. Taking suo motu cognizance of reported begging rackets on the roads, the High Court had earlier directed the government to take action against the gangs involved in the rackets. The bench had appointed senior advocate V P Chaudhary as the amicus curiae and asked him to give suggestions to control the problems. Chaudhary has suggested the government appoint mobile magistrates for on the spot disposal of cases related to beggary.




Follow court order on language policy, HC to govt
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Follow-court-order-on-language-policy-HC-to-govt/articleshow/4367483.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0524 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: Schools looking to switch over to English medium from Kannada, got some relief from the high court on Monday. With the state government dithering even after a full bench order, the court gave them a boost by quashing the endorsement issued by the DDPI, rejecting the registration of English medium schools. It asked the state government to consider the fresh application within four weeks, in keeping with the high court verdict of July 2, 2008 on language policy. Rajajinagar Education Society, which runs Aurobindo Vidya Mandir, filed an application seeking registration as English medium, which was rejected by the DDPI with an endorsement dated February 25. The Education Society, along with Karnataka Unaided Schools Managements Association (KUSMA) had challenged the DDPI's order rejecting the application. The endorsement cited the 1994 language policy, though the High Court bench had set aside the policy, and said the apex court had not issued any stay order on a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the state government. As there is no stay order from the apex court, the state is bound to follow the HC verdict, said Justice Mohanshantanagoudar. The state has no power to refuse registration for an English medium school, in view of the July verdict. The Supreme Court heard the SLP only once, on August 29, 2008, posted it before the registrar there and issued formal notices to the respondents, but did not issue a stay order, the counsel told the court. However, the government advocate said the apex court is due to hear the SLP filed by the state on April 21, and that the full bench didn't fully reject the state's language policy, as the petitioners claimed.





Student death: HC dismisses petition against school authorities
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Student-death-HC-dismisses-petition-against-school-authorities/articleshow/4367523.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0532 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Trustees and principal of Adharsheela school, located on the outskirts of city, are in trouble after Gujarat High Court refused to quash a complaint against them in connection with the death of a student. Vishal Kuldeepsinh Rana, 19, student of class IX, was approaching his classroom after recess on December 30 last year, when a heavy bag full of construction material fell on his head. It was thrown by a construction worker from the roof, as repairing work was going on in school. Vishal succumbed to his injuries the next day, and his father lodged a complaint against the school trustees and principal Damubhai Patel, Kantibhai Patel and Smitaben Sheth holding them responsible for the his death. After this, all three approached high court to quash the complaint against them. They contended that they had nothing to do with the death and that the incident was an accident. On the other hand, advocate Mehul Mehta for Rana argued that repairing work contract was awarded by school authorities with a condition that the work should be completed during the vacation. But it got prolonged and resulted in this accident. Moreover, Mehta also argued that after the incident the district education officer issued a circular asking schools to get construction work completed during vacations only. After hearing both the parties, Justice AS Dave dismissed school authorities' petition observing that it was a serious incident and must be investigated properly.




No interim bail in grave offences: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/No-interim-bail-in-grave-offences-HC/articleshow/4367074.cms
6 Apr 2009, 2208 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: In an important verdict, the Allahabad High Court had directed all the magistrates not to grant interim bail to the accused involved in grave offences. A bench comprising Justice Amar Saran and Justice RN Mishra has said that the interim bail ought not to be passed in grave offences like murder, dacoity, robbery, rape, etc where it is necessary to arrest the accused in order to infuse confidence amongst the victims and the society at large and also for protecting the witnesses. The court directed that where the case involved an offence under the UP Gangster Act and in similar statutary provisions and also where the accused is likely to abscond and evade the process of law, the interim bail should not be granted, pending hearing of a regular bail. The has further directed that interim bail should not be granted in the case where the accused is of violent behaviour and likely to commit further offences and a habitual offender. The court has further directed that interim bail should also be denied if the offence is in the nature of a scam and there was an apprehension that the accused may interfere with the investigation. The court directed that an order of interim bail can also not be passed by a magistrate who is not empowered to grant regular bail in offences punishable with death or imprisonment for life or under the other circumstances enumerated in Section 437 of CrPC. The court said that if the public prosecutor/investigating officer can satisfy the magistrate/court that there was a bona fide need for custodial interrogation of the accused regarding various facets of motive, preparation, commission and aftermath of the crime and the connection of other persons, if any, in the crime, or for obtaining information leading to discovery of material facts, it may constitute a valid ground for not granting interim bail and the Court in such circumstances may pass orders for custodial interrogation or any other appropriate Court. Passing this order, the court remarked these directions are necessary as the need to grant plenary powers to the police to investigate and unravel the circumstances of a crime are as important as the need to protect a respectable person from being unnecessarily sent to jail or for restraining the police from taking persons in custody for minor offences, where it may strictly not be necessary for the police to arrest an accused at the stage of investigation. The judgment was given while disposing of the writ petition filed by Pradeep Tyagi of Bulandshahar, who had approached the high court for quashing an FIR registered against him under Sections 420, 423 and 424 of the IPC, read with Section 22-A of the UP Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1953, registered with Pahasu police in Bulandshahar.




Start mobile courts within 4 weeks: HC to NCT govt
http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/542285/National/1/20/1
Published: April 6,2009

New Delhi, Apr 6 The Delhi High Court today directed the NCT government to start at least two mobile courts within four weeks to curb the begging menace on city roads.
The Court also asked the government to place before it a plan of action by May 4, the next date for further hearing in the case.
Appearing for the government, Standing counsel Mukta Gupta told a Division Bench of Justices B D Ahmed and P K Bhasin that the NCT government has sanctioned only two mobile courts and is waiting for the High Court to depute two Magistrates for the work.
Earlier, the Bench had pulled up the government for delay in complying with the court&aposs previous order for setting up four mobile courts for cases related to begging.
Taking suo motu cognisance of reported begging rackets on the roads, the High Court had directed the government to take action against the gangs involved in the rackets.
The Bench had appointed senior advocate V P Chaudhary as the amicus curiae and asked him to give suggestions to control the problems.
Chaudhary has suggested the government appoint mobile magistrates for on the spot disposal of cases related to beggary.
Source: PTI




HC forms committee to frame guidelines in missing child case

http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/542242/National/1/20/1
Published: April 6,2009

Mumbai , Apr 6 The Bombay High Court today appointed a three-member committee to assist in framing guidelines to prevent incidents of newly-born children going missing from public hospitals.
The committee was formed by a Bench headed by Justice Ranjana Desai, in response to a petition filed by Mohan and Mohini Nerulkar, whose baby boy went missing from Lokmanya Tilak Hospital here on January one.
The members of the committee are -- Advocate General of Maharashtra, Ravi Kadam, former additional solicitor general, Rafiq Dada and senior counsel, K K Singhvi.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation which runs the hospital has already deposited Rs 5 lakh compensation with the Registrar of the High Court. The interest from this amount would be given to the aggrieved parents till the matter is finally heard and disposed of.
According to the Nerulkars, their baby was stolen by an unidentified woman from the hospital on January 1. Mohini had delivered the child only two days earlier.
According to her statement to the police, she had left the baby on the bed and gone to the bathroom. No nurse or wardboy were around and the unidentified woman had assured that she would look after the child.
When Mohini returned, the woman and child were missing.
Source: PTI




Decide KPMG sexual harassment case within 6 months: SC to HC
Published by: Noor KhanPublished: Mon, 06 Apr 2009 at 17:58 IST
New Delhi, Apr 6 : The Supreme Court today asked the Bombay High Court to decide within six months a case related to sexual harassment at global consultancy firm KPMG (India)."...To avoid further delay, matter must be disposed of expeditiously. The request is reasonable. We request the High Court to dispose of the matter within six months. Interim directions shall continue till the High Court finally disposes of the matter," a bench headed by Justice R V Raveendran stated in its order.A woman employee of the firm had filed a case in the High Court alleging that her seniors had sexually harassed her.The apex court also said that its earlier order on September 8 last year staying the proceedings of an inquiry committee set up by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women to look into the charges will continue till the final disposal of the case. The Commission had summoned firm's CEO Russell Parera.The firm in its plea before the court had expressed apprehensions that the inquiry committee may not give a fair decision, alleging there was clear bias against it. (MORE)




HC tells Mauritius firm to pay capital gains tax
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hc-tells-mauritius-firm-to-pay-capital-gains-tax/443485/
ENS Economic Bureau Posted: Apr 06, 2009 at 0029 hrs IST
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has disposed of a writ petition filed by E*Trade Mauritius Limited and directed that the tax amount deposited with it earlier should be released to the Tax Department. The capital gains tax of Rs 24.5 crore was paid on the consideration received by E*Trade Mauritius from another Mauritian company on sale of shares of an Indian company.
E*Trade Mauritius is a limited company formed under the laws of Mauritius and is a subsidiary of E*Trade Financial Corporation (E*Trade US). E*Trade Mauritius sold shares of IL&FS Investmart Limited (IL&FS) to HSBC Violet Investments (Mauritius) Limited (HSBC Mauritius). After the transaction, E*Trade Mauritius filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court challenging a withholding tax certificate issued by the Tax Department to pay capital gain tax on the consideration.
The HC had directed the matter back to the Tax Department for revision proceedings. Further, until disposal of the matter by the Tax authorities, the High Court directed HSBC Mauritius to deposit an amount of Rs 24.5 crore, being the tax amount, with the HC.
The court held that the tax amount set aside under its earlier order be released to the Tax Department and the balance, of Rs 20 lakh should be released to E*Trade Mauritius. The court has directed HSBC Mauritius to issue a Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) Certificate to E*Trade Mauritius to the extent of tax amount released to the Tax Department.
“It appears that the Tax Department had concluded that E*Trade Mauritius was a shell company which acquired funds from E*Trade US for purchase of shares of IL&FS. Further the ownership of shares of IL&FS rested with E*Trade US and accordingly, the actual gains had accrued to E*Trade US,” KPMG said.





INDIAN RETAILER SUBHIKSHA SAYS HC HAS APPOINTED PROV. LIQUIDATOR
http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2009/04/05/4108118.htm
[April 05, 2009
]CHENNAI, Apr 06, 2009 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- Indian retail chain Subhiksha on Friday said the Madras High Court has issued an order appointing a provisional liquidator to take charge of its assets, after one of its lenders Kotak Mahindara Bank filed a winding up petition against the retailer.
"We had come to know that Kotak Mahindra Bank has filed a winding up petition at the Madras High Court on Friday against our company on the grounds of alleged default of repayment obligations. We were also given to understand that an order was passed ex-parte appointing a provisional liquidator to take charge of the assets of the Company," Subhiksha MD R Subramanian said in a release here."While we have still not been served a copy of this order we had moved a application to suspend the order till we are heard", the release here said.
The court also observed that this order of appointment of provisional liquidator does not affect any rights of the company management except in respect of the company's assets and it would not affect the debt restructuring, Subhiksha said.(PTI)




HC rejects bail plea of rape accused
http://www.bombayblasts.com/2009/04/05/hc-rejects-bail-plea-of-rape-accused/
By April 5, 2009
Bombay HC rejected the bail application filed by the driver accused of raping and murdering a Wipro call centre employee.
This post is provided to you by BombayBlasts.com





Sacking of employees facing criminal casesHolding of inquiry essential: HC
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090407/main3.htm
Saurabh Malik/Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 6The Punjab and Haryana High Court has made it clear that mere registration of an FIR is not enough to terminate the services of an employee; the holding of an inquiry is essential before initiating such action.
The ruling comes on a petition filed by a patwari, Sukhwinder Singh, against the state of Punjab and another respondent. In his petition placed before Justice MM Kumar, the petitioner had sought directions for quashing the suspension and the termination orders.
Taking up the matter, Justice Kumar ruled: “It is conceded position that the petitioner was appointed on regular basis as patwari on January 29, 1987. An FIR, dated July 5,1989, under Sections 465, 467, 471 and 420 IPC was registered against him, which constituted the basis for suspension, as well as termination.
“According to the petitioner, the FIR did not disclose that any voucher or authority was given to him to withdraw any amount from the treasury…. When the matter came up for consideration before a Division Bench of this court, the operation of termination order was stayed on August 17, 1989, and the stay order was reiterated on September 13, 1989. The petition was eventually admitted.
“In the written statement broad facts are admitted. However, it has been claimed that the petitioner’s services could be terminated with a month’s notice. A copy of the appointment letter dated January 29, 1987, has been placed on record....
“There are serious allegations of embezzlement against the petitioner.... He was arrested and a sum of Rs. 70,000 was recovered from him. There is nothing on record to show as to the subsequent progress of the case or the result of the FIR.
“However, the same may not be necessary to decide the fate of the termination order. Having heard the state counsel, I am of the view that termination order passed by the respondents is un-sustainable in the eyes of law because no such order could have been passed without holding an inquiry.
“The termination order appears to have been passed merely on the registration of the FIR. Accordingly, the termination order is set aside. However, quashing of termination order would not affect either the criminal proceedings or disciplinary proceedings, which might have been initiated against the petitioner after registration of the FIR.”




Frame norms on tractor registration: SC to Centre
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090407/main4.htm
R. SedhuramanLegal Correspondent
New Delhi, April 6The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to frame guidelines within a week to deal with the problem of dealers selling tractors across the country without registration and insurance, thereby denying farmers ownership of their vehicles.
A Bench comprising Justices SB Sinha and MK Sharma issued the direction on a PIL filed by the Federation of Farmers Association, complaining that tractor dealers were selling these vehicles to farmers on the false promises of getting bank loans and government subsidies.
“However, they (dealers) are taking care to see that proper authorisation about the ownership of the tractors and the documents are not given to farmers. Many farmers who have fallen prey to this duplicity are confronted with legal problems as they do not possess legal documents of the payment and ownership,” according to the PIL.
Further, farmers involved in accidents were confronted with criminal cases in the absence of ownership documents and driving licence.
Appearing for the petitioners, counsel Vimla Sinha said a number of states had filed their responses to the problem of dealers violating the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, but the Centre was yet to come out with its guidelines.







HCS (judicial) exam on schedule http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090407/haryana.htm#3
Saurabh MalikTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 6The main examination for Haryana Civil Services (judicial branch) will be on schedule, after all.
The legal hitch in holding the examinations on April 11 ended today with a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissing a patent appeal against the process. In all, four appeals were filed before the Division Bench against the judgment of a Single Judge.
As many as 5,170 candidates appeared in the preliminary examination conducted by the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) in 2008 for filling up 78 posts of civil judges (junior division). Out of the total, 830 candidates were short listed.
In the petitions subsequently filed, the preliminary examination was challenged on grounds that certain questions were out of syllabus and answer to a question was incorrect. During the pendency of writ petitions, it was pointed out that 45 questions were out of syllabus; five had incorrect answers. The Single Judge had concluded four questions were wrong.
Taking up the appeals, the Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice SS Saron asserted: “We do not find that the appellants are entitled to any indulgence in the present appeals.... According to the appellants, the questions said to be out of syllabus relate to the Constitution of India, international law, jurisprudence, torts and other statutes.
“It cannot be said such questions are out of syllabus, as the candidates were made aware that they should have the ability to answer questions on current events of national and international importance, Indian legal and Constitutional history and governance….
Elaborating, the Bench further asserted: “It may be noticed that such examination is for recruitment of judicial officers in the state of Haryana.
The questions are about the Constitution of India or other statutes. It cannot be said that such questions are not relevant to determine the aptitude and analytical mind of a candidate.
The questions asked are not of physics, chemistry or economics unconnected with the syllabus or the purpose for which examination is being conducted. Therefore, we are unable to agree with the arguments raised by counsel for the appellants that 45 questions were out of syllabus.
Before parting with the orders, the Bench asserted: “In respect of the argument that answers to certain questions were incorrect, suffice it to say the appellants have attempted most of the questions and attempted them right.
“To argue that such questions should be excluded from the marking of all the candidates would be meaningless when the appellants themselves have attempted most of the questions correctly”.





Thind files complaint against CM to Lokayukta http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090407/himachal.htm#1
Pratibha ChauhanTribune News Service
Shimla, April 6The arrest of IPS officer B.S. Thind has warmed up the cool political climes of the hill state as the suspended officer has tried to hit back by lodging a complaint against Chief Minister P.K. Dhumal, CBI Director Ashwani Kumar and two senior police officers before the Lokayukta.
Apprehending arrest by the Himachal police, Thind got his complaints registered in the Lokayukta on April 4, the day he was arrested from the district court here. Separate complaints have been filed by him against the chief minister, CBI director Ashwani Kumar, also from the Himachal cadre, ADGP (Vigilance) D.S. Manhas and IG (Law and Order) S.R Mardi, levelling allegations of abuse of position and indulging in alleged corrupt practices.
Thind has annexed a list of properties owned by Dhumal and his family members at various places, seeking investigation. He has also cited a specific instance of granting tender to a private security agency for zonal hospitals without cabinet approval while he was the chief minister during the last tenure.
While Lokayukta officials confirmed that complaints had been received from Thind, they did not verify whether he filed them in person or were given by someone on his behalf. However, sources close to the 1974 batch IPS officer said that he had filed the complaints personally before his arrest.
Chief minister P.K. Dhumal, when contacted on the issue, today said there was no substance in the allegations levelled against him by Thind and the Lokayukta was free to look into the complaint.
“The previous Congress governments in Punjab and Himachal, who have already looked into the allegations did not find any truth in the allegations of Thind,” he said, reacting to the charges levelled by the suspended IPS officer.
The chief minister said that every time there were elections, Thind tried to level such allegations. “He should not forget that this time his “Godfather” is not the chief minister to look into such frivolous charges,” he remarked
Considered close to former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, the timing of the arrest of Thind is coinciding with the holding of the Lok Sabha polls and it is being felt that the ruling party would want to encash it politically. The FIR that has been lodged against Thind by the Parwanoo businessman, Ashok Mittal also has references to Virbhadra Singh and his principal private secretary, Subhash Ahluwalia.
The name of Thind had figured prominently in the charge sheet that the BJP had prepared while the Congress was in power. As such his arrest was very much along expected lines and he was placed under suspension following framing of charges by the CBI in a case in Punjab.




ADGP Thind gets bail
http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090407/himachal.htm#1
Solan, April 6Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) BS Thind, who was arrested in connection with a graft case, was granted bail here today.
Thind, a 1974 batch IPS officer and ADGP Lokayukta, was produced before the court of Solan District and Sessions Judge CB Borowalia, who granted him bail on a personal surety of Rs 25,000.
On Saturday, he had complained of chest pain after arrest and was taken to Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) where doctors kept him under observation for two days.
The officer, considered close to former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, has been arrested in connection with a complaint of Parwanoo-based businessman Ashok Mittal that the ADGP sought huge sum of money to get his business premises vacated. He had also submitted a CD to the state police headquarters purportedly containing voice of Thind.
On direction of the government an FIR was lodged with the Parwanoo police station on June 15, 2008, and he was placed under suspension by the government.
Meanwhile, crying foul play in his arrest, Thind lodged a complaint with state Lokayukta against Chief Minister PK Dhumal, former DGP Ashwani Kumar, who is CBI Director now, and DGP Vigilance DS Manhas.
In his complaint against CM on Saturday, a copy of which was given to media today, the police officer alleged that Dhumal “knowingly and intentionally” abused his position to cause undue harm to him.
Thind also alleged that Kumar and Manhas were biased. — PTI





26/11 trial to begin on April 15
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/07/stories/2009040761131000.htm
Rahi Gaikwad
Mumbai: The prosecution will begin the argument for the November 26, 2008, Mumbai terror attacks case on April 15, the Special Sessions Court said on Monday. The hearing will take place at Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail.
On April 15, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam will present the charges against the three accused in the case, Mohammad Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab,’ Fahim Ansari and Mohammad Sabahuddin. He will also submit the evidence collected by the police.
Mr. Nikam told journalists: “On the 15th, I will conclude my address and the defence will advance its submission, if any, for the discharge of the accused, and thereafter, the court may frame the charges based on the evidence. Thus, the court will complete the procedure listed under Sections 226 (opening case for prosecution), 227 (discharge), 228 (framing of charge) of the Criminal Procedure Code.”
He said the court would examine the witnesses immediately as well as the important documentary evidence collected by the Mumbai police. “Evidence against the wanted accused of the Lashkar-e-Taiba will also be produced before the court. We not only have substantial evidence against Kasab, but also against the wanted accused of the Lashkar-e-Taiba as disclosed in the charge sheet,” the Special Public Prosecutor said.
He said the trial would take about six months to conclude.
Replies in English
The only surviving terrorist Ajmal was produced before Sessions Judge M.L. Tahaliyani on Monday via video conferencing. When the court asked him if he had any objection to his lawyer Anjali Waghmare getting a copy of the charge sheet, he first replied in English saying “No, Sir,” and later when asked the same question, the accused said, “Insha Allah.”
Ajmal, who is currently at Arthur Road jail, expressed a desire to meet his lawyer. On Monday, the court witnessed a light moment during its proceedings. When Ajmal was brought before the video camera, the judge and the jail superintendent were deciding about giving the charge sheet to Ms. Waghmare. Mr. Tahaliyani then turned to Ajmal and asked if he understood what the superintendent was saying.
When he said “Yes,” Mr. Tahaliyani asked him, “Then why don’t you understand the charge sheet? It is in English.” To this cross-examination, Ajmal smiled and replied, “Only the reports are in English [not everything else].”
Ansari and Sabahuddin were also at the hearing via video conferencing. Changing his mind yet again on his legal defence, Ansari told the court that he needed a month’s time to decide on a lawyer and that his current lawyer Ejaz Naqvi could continue for a month.
He did not wish to give the charge sheet to Mr. Naqvi. At the last hearing, Ansari had agreed on Mr. Naqvi’s appointment. He alleged that the police were threatening him to take up a State lawyer and not appoint a private lawyer. “They are threatening my family members at home,” he told the court. He said his house was at Goregaon in Mumbai and that he had learnt of the threats from his wife, who was present in court.
The third accused Sabahuddin, on the other hand, agreed to continue with Mr. Naqvi for his defence case and to give the charge sheet to him. All the three accused will be produced before the court on April 15.
On Monday, two applications were submitted before the court in relation to the case. The first came from advocate K.B.N. Lam. He questioned Ms. Waghmare’s appointment as a defence lawyer in the terror attack case, when she was allegedly representing a witness in the same case. “Her impartiality is questionable. Ms. Waghmare is going to cross-examine a prosecution witness with whom she has already had contact,” he told the court.
Ms. Waghmare said she had never signed any appointment papers, although she admitted to having met the victim. She told the court that it was a civil matter, whereas Ajmal’s case was a criminal matter and therefore there was no breach of professional conduct.
The court reserved the order on this application for Wednesday.
Mr. Lam is the advocate who had expressed his desire to represent Ajmal and sent his vakalatnama to the Crime Branch last December. Following this, his house was attacked.




Amendment to rule on property tax challenged
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/07/stories/2009040760060400.htm
Special Correspondent
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday ordered notice on a writ petition challenging the validity of an amendment to a Tamil Nadu Village Panchayats (Assessment and Collection of Taxes) Rule by which self-financing private educational institutions were put under liability to pay house/property tax.
Admitting the petition, Mr.Justice V.Ramasubramanian said the notice would be returnable by April 8.
In its petition, the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Managements Association, represented by its general secretary, D.Christdass, said that a majority of the member schools of the association were located in rural areas. Since the institutions were managed and run by private society or trust, they were to be encouraged by the State by reducing their financial burden.
A concession provided by the government was providing exemptions to educational institutions, including private-run institutions, from paying house/property tax.
Following the issue of a G.O dated March 5, 2008 by the Secretary, Rural Development, amending a rule, educational institutions running without getting any aid from the State Government were taken away from the purview of the exemption provision. These institutions now had to pay property tax.
The petitioner submitted that private educational institutions getting aid from the government were exempted from paying property tax.




High Court denies permission for ‘annadhanam’ to devotees
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/07/stories/2009040759430300.htm
Staff Reporter
MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday refused to interfere with the prohibition imposed by the Police Commissioner on providing ‘Annadhanam’ (free food) to devotees during Kumbabhishekam of the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here on Wednesday.
Hearing a writ petition filed by Alavai Angayarkanni Baktha Sabai, Justice K.K. Sasidharan said that it would not be possible to pass any orders on the petition as it had been filed at the eleventh hour. He adjourned the case to Wednesday after the Special Government Pleader (SGP) expressed his reservations.
SGP R. Janakiramulu said that around 15 lakh devotees were expected for the Kumbabhishekam. “The police will have to face lot of difficulty in making security arrangements. In this situation, the petitioner association cannot be permitted to give Annadhanam,” he said.





Show-cause notices served on officials
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/07/stories/2009040753550300.htm
Staff Reporter
SALEM: The State Information Commission has served show-cause notices to over 430 officials for their failure to respond to petitioners who have sought information under the Right to Information Act (RTA), its Commissioner R. Perumalsamy has said.
After conducting an inquiry here on Monday, he said the commission imposed a fine of Rs. 25,000 each on 11 officials for failing to provide information.
Mr. Perumalsamy asked the officials to provide the required information to the petitioners without any delay.
The proper response from the officials would help ensure greater transparency in government departments.
Stating that the awareness level among people about the act was high in Tamil Nadu, he said over 1.27 lakh people submitted petitions seeking information under the act. About 500 to 600 people submit petitions under the act every day in the State. About 12,000 petitions are being submitted each month.
A majority of the petitions related to house sites, land-related information and cases in police stations.
A large number of people also submitted petitions seeking information from co-operative, education and employment departments as well.
Mr. Perumalsamy conducted inquiries with respect to 15 petitions received from Erode, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Salem, Coimbatore and Namakkal districts.




ICFAI-Tech students refute institute’s claims
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/07/stories/2009040760720700.htm
Staff Reporter
HYDERABAD: Engineering students of Icfai Institute of Science and Technology (Icfai-Tech), on Sunday questioned the veracity of the clarification issued by the college management in these columns.
The management claimed that B.Tech students would be conferred with a degree from Icfai University, Dehradun.
The students said G.P. Srivastava, zonal director of Icfai Tech, during talks at the DCP’s office on Saturday was unwilling to give them the same in writing.
“He only said they had begun the procedure to get approval from authorities. But we don’t know how long the procedure will take and whether we can get valid certificates by the time we graduate. Nothing was given in writing,” said a student.
Stipulations
Referring to the No Objection Certificate (NOC) issued by the State government to Icfai university, Dehradun (Letter No.402/UE-II.2008-2, dated April 2, 2008) to establish off-campus centres, they pointed to the stipulation in the letter that the centre(s) “should satisfy the statutory requirements of the regulatory bodies (concerned) like the UGC, AICTE and the directions of the Supreme Court of India.”
The assurance goes contrary to the statement submitted by the same university to the Supreme Court in March this year saying that it had no study centre outside its home State Uttarkhand. “Also the AICTE has not yet granted any approval for setting up a centre. Its rules prescribe that no technical institution offering general/distance education course should work without its prior approval,” said P. Ravi Teja, an advocate acting on behalf of the students.
Charging Icfai-Tech with trying to mislead the students and general public by issuing such statements, they explained that around 800 students were engaging in a peaceful protest.
“It is the false accusation by the management that the protesting students were being kept hostage by a small group,” the students said.





Case booked against BJP MLA Renukacharya
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/07/stories/2009040754220400.htm
Special Correspondent
BANGALORE: Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) M. N. Vidyashankar on Monday said the police had booked a criminal case against BJP MLA M.P. Renukacharya for allegedly making an inflammatory speech in Davangere on Sunday. Addressing presspersons here, the CEO said the police had registered the case under Section 125 of the Representation of People Act and investigation was on.
Mr. Renukacharya, who represents Honnali, reportedly said: “heads of those who spoke against Hindutva should be cut”. Mr. Renukacharya’s remark came in reaction to an earlier alleged anti-Hindu statement by former Minister Kagodu Thimmappa of the Congress. Later, Mr. Thimmappa denied making any anti-Hindu statement.
Mr. Vidyshankar said BJP candidate for Uttara Kannada Anant Kumar Hegde had replied to the commission’s notice for his alleged inflammatory speech in the constituency.
Nominations
He said 347 nomination papers in 17 constituencies going to polls in the first phase found valid.
Cash seized
The CEO said the police had seized Rs. 50 lakh in cash in Bellary when it was being transported from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh to Gangavati in Koppal district.




Plea for free and fair polls High court round-up
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/07/stories/2009040753850400.htm
Notice to CEO on Kannur
CPI(M) leader also issued notice
Petition filed by Congress candidate
Kochi: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to state the steps taken to ensure free and fair polling in the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency.
The Bench of Justice P.R. Raman and Justice P.S. Gopinathan issued the directive when a writ petition filed by K. Sudhakaran, Congress candidate in Kannur, came up for hearing.
The Bench issued notice to P. Sasi, Kannur district secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
The petition sought a direction to the Director-General of Police, Superintendent of Police and the Election Commission to provide adequate protection to voters in the constituency to enable them to exercise their franchise in a fair manner.
The petitioner pointed out that there were many sensitive booths in the district. There were chances of booth capturing and voters being prevented from exercising their voting rights. The polling in all booths should be video-graphed.
Mr. Sudhakaran said the removal of election hoardings put up in front of the collectorate by various parties was ordered by election observers.
All parties except the CPI(M) had removed the hoardings. As the CPI(M) did not remove the hoardings, the Additional District Magistrate tried to get them removed.
However, CPI (M) leaders threatened the magistrate and obstructed the removal of the hoardings.
He apprehended that a fair polling could not be conducted in Kannur unless sufficient police protection was ordered.
He alleged that election officers were yielding to the pressure of the ruling party.
Sabarimala master plan
Acting on a report of the Ombudsman for Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards, the Bench appointed a high-power committee to implement the Sabarimala master plan.
The court passed the order when the report came up for hearing.
Quashed
A Bench comprising Justice K. Balakrishnan Nair and Justice M. L. Joseph Francis quashed the government orders issued in 2008 and 2009 stipulating that only those CBSE-affiliated schools which had been recognised under the provisions of the Kerala Education Rules were entitled to get no-objection certificate from the government.
The verdict came on a batch of petitions challenging the orders.





Delhi Govt. directed to set up mobile courts
http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/07/stories/2009040753940400.htm
Staff Reporter
For on-the-spot disposal of cases concerning beggars
Government asked to file an action plan for dealing with begging in the city
‘More than 95 per cent of the beggars detained in beggars’ homes are outsiders’
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Delhi Government to set up mobile courts within four weeks for on-the-spot disposal of cases concerning beggars in the Capital.
A Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice B. D. Ahmed and Justice P. K. Bhasin issued the direction during the hearing of a suo motu petition on begging in the city.
The amicus curiae in the matter had in 2007 suggested to the Court to order establishment of mobile courts for disposal of these cases there and then.
The Bench also directed the Government to file an action plan for dealing with begging in the city.
Other suggestions of the amicus curiae included declaration of some of the beggars’ homes as open homes where any person driven by necessity to beg is allowed to stay without any stigma of punishment attached under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959.
Amicus curiae V. P. Chaudhry has further suggested that the open homes should also impart skill training to beggars staying there so that they are rehabilitated when they leave the homes.
His other recommendations include initiating measures to send beggars to their native places from where they have migrated to the Capital; talks between the Delhi Government and the Governments of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to persuade these States to make an anti-begging law if they do not have one; and form a committee to examine comprehensively the problem of beggary.
According to his estimate, more than 95 per cent of the beggars detained in various beggars’ homes across Delhi are outsiders.
He had made the suggestions after visiting the beggars’ homes. Some of the beggars detained in the homes had told him during his interaction that they were innocent as they had come to the Capital for some work and were wrongly detained.





CBI files chargesheet against Raju
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Satyam-scam-CBI-files-chargesheet-against-Raju/articleshow/4370359.cms
7 Apr 2009, 1651 hrs IST, PTI
HYDERABAD: The CBI on Tuesday filed a chargesheet in the Satyam accounting fraud case involving thousands of crores of rupees against company's founder B Ramalinga Raju and eight others. The 76-page chargesheet was filed before the special court here under various sections of Indian penal code for cheating and forgery. Besides Raju, those named in the chargesheet include his brother and former managing director of the company Rama Raju, Satyam former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas, and the two sacked auditors of PriceWaterhouse, S Gopalkrishnan and Talluri Srinivas. Others named in the chargesheet include Satyam employees G Ramakrishna (Vice President- Finance), D Venkatpathi Raju and Srisailam, both in the finance department of the company. Raju's another brother Suryanarayna Raju, a director with SRSR Advisory Services is the ninth person named in the chargesheet. Except Suryanarayana Raju, others are at present in the judicial custody and are lodged in the Chanchalguda jail here. The CBI submitted 1,532 original documents of bank transactions and 65,000-page other documents, which included the statements of 432 witnesses in the case along with the chargesheet in the court.





No bungalows, no new SC judges
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Justice-denied-No-bungalows-no-new-SC-judges/articleshow/4368244.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0521 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: A move to increase the judge strength of Supreme Court from 25 to 30 to help clear the mounting backlog of cases, has hit an unexpected barrier - the urban development ministry has formally expressed its inability to provide additional houses for the new judges! This, according to sources in the apex court, is the only factor stopping the SC collegium from initiating the selection process for the new posts. Parliament, earlier this year had okayed the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill, 2008 moved by law minister H R Bhardwaj and it has received the President’s assent. Though the passage of the Bill in both Houses took nearly a year, the UD ministry failed to utilize the time to identify and allocate five more houses to the Supreme Court pool to facilitate appointment of the new judges. The apex court on February 14 wrote to the ministry for ‘‘placement of five more type-VIII bungalows, preferably in areas such as Akbar Road, Krishna Menon Marg, Tughlaq Road and Motilal Nehru Marg, at the disposal of the Supreme Court judges pool’’ as the strength of judges had been increased from 25 to 30. The ministry wrote back recently. ‘‘In view of non-availability of any vacant accommodation in the above said areas, it has not been found possible to place any such category house at the Supreme Court judges pool immediately. However, efforts are being made to locate suitable accommodation on priority,’’ it said. Meanwhile, the backlog of cases at the Supreme Court, which was 39,780 at the end of 2006, has since grown to around 50,000.




HC gives state 8 weeks to decide
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/HC-gives-state-8-weeks-to-decide/articleshow/4367536.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0208 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday directed the state government to take a decision in eight weeks on applications for "premature release'' filed by four persons sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. The accused Salim Shaikh, Niyaz Shaikh, Shaikh Umar and Moin Qureshi who have already served over 14 years in jail are presently lodged in the Aurangabad Central prison. The quartet had prominent roles in the blasts according to the prosecution--Salim had helped land arms and explosives at Dighi jetty in Raigad. Niyaz had undergone training in Pakistan and done a recce of the BMC building, Umar had smuggled as well as packed arms and explosives, and Moin was charged for his role in hurling grenades at the fishermen's colony in Mahim. They claimed they had already spent 14 years in jail, and according to procedure, the state government must decide on their exact jail terms. Additional public prosecutor Usha Kejriwal told a division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar that the state would decide their pleas. New rules framed by the government in 2008, would have given the state the chance to put the blast accused in jail for 40 to 50 years as it had done in a recent case of a person accused of terrorism. Advocate N N Gawankar, counsel for the accused, however, cited a Supreme Court judgment which ruled that while categorising the jail terms of life convicts, the guidelines existing on the date of judgment would be applicable.
"When the court delivered its verdict, the 1992 guidelines were in place,'' said Gawankar. The 1992 guidelines say that a person convicted on charges of terrorism and sentenced to life imprisonment would have to serve a maximum of 30 years in jail, including remissions (imprisonment period credited to the jail term for good conduct). This does not mean that the accused will be released from jail any time soon, though. Of the 14 years that the accused spent in jail, for 13 years they were undertrials and remissions cannot be awarded for that period.




HC raps cops in missing baby case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/HC-raps-cops-in-missing-baby-case/articleshow/4367538.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0210 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday expressed displeasure at the pace of police investigations to find a newborn who went missing from Sion hospital in January. "Your investigations seems to be based only on hope,'' said a division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar, adding, "One mother has lost her baby, it shouldn't happen again.'' The court has now set up a three-member committee comprising advocate general Ravi Kadam and senior advocates K K Singhvi and Rafiq Dada. The committee will suggest guidelines to beef up security at civic hospitals to prevent incidents of kidnapping of babies. The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Chembur residents Mohan and Mohini Nerurkar whose newborn son was kidnapped from the maternity ward of Sion hospital. The BMC told the court that according to the HC directions, the corporation deposited Rs 5 lakh as compensation with the registrar. The couple would be able to withdraw the interest from this amount.





Kasab shocks judge with legal acumen
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Kasab-shocks-judge-with-legal-acumen/articleshow/4367650.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0213 hrs IST, Kartikeya, TNN
MUMBAI: There is more to Ajmal Amir Kasab than meets the eye. Not only can the Std-IV dropout from a rural Pakistani school follow English, but he is also aware of what exactly goes into a chargesheet. All this was evident when the 26/11 gunman was produced before special judge M L Tahaliyani via video-conferencing on Monday. The judge instructed jailer Swati Sathe in English that she make arrangements for Kasab's chargesheet to be sent to court so that it could be handed over to defence advocate Anjali Waghmare. Tahaliyani then asked Kasab in Hindi whether he had understood what he had told the jailer. "Yes sir,'' replied Kasab. " Aapko to English samajh mein aati hai (You understand English),'' the judge remarked. " Ji sir,'' Kasab replied. Tahaliyani then asked him why then had he been asking for a copy of the chargesheet in Urdu. " Usme sirf reports English mein hain (Only the reports in it are in English),'' Kasab replied promptly, indicating that not only had he been going through the chargesheet in custody but was also well aware of its technical contents like the forensic "reports''. Kasab also expressed a desire to meet Waghmare and was told that he could do so when the trial began in Arthur Road jail on April 15. Special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam is expected to open arguments on behalf of the state that day. Waghmare will get a copy from court on Wednesday and will have exactly a week to go through the 11,000-page chargesheet and prepare her reply. Ejaz Naqvi, lawyer for the other two accused, Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin, also told the court on Monday that both he and his clients were "under pressure''. Ansari's wife, in fact, came to court claiming that the police had been coming to her Goregaon residence and putting pressure on her to engage a lawyer from the state's legal aid cell. Tahaliyani allowed Naqvi to meet Sabauddin in jail for the first time and get instructions from him. The court also received the copy of a report prepared by the Worli police on Shiv Sena men's attack on Waghmare's house on the night of March 30. The mob was protesting against her decision to defend Kasab and Tahaliyani had asked for a report to decide whether he could initiate contempt of court proceedings since the action amounted to obstruction of administration of justice. "I will go through the report and see what needs to be done,'' Tahaliyani said. The court also had to deal with other issues raised by a lawyer and a person calling himself a social worker. Advocate KBN Lam questioned Waghmare's impartiality during the trial, saying she had already been engaged by a victim of the terror attack who was also going to depose as a witness during the trial. Ishwar Khandelwal, who runs an NGO, said he wanted to intervene in the trial on behalf of the public and ensure that the prosecution remained "fearless''. His plea was rejected by court.





Notice to Centre, state A division bench
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Notice-to-Centre-state-A-division-bench/articleshow/4367484.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0524 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: A division bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran on Monday ordered notices to the Union and state governments, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation and Karnataka Power Corporation Limited on a PIL filed by the Western Ghats Environmental Forum, challenging proposals for construction of dams and thermal power plants in ecologically-sensitive areas of Uttara Kannada district. There are 137 projects proposed under the so-called mini-hydel projects in the Western Ghats. Uttara Kannada has lost huge tracts of forest to the Kaiga project, Kodasalli, Sharavathi-I and Sharavathi-II. The Supa dam across the Kali river has consumed most of the dense forests surrounding Dandeli. An entire taluk, tribes and landless coolies were displaced and rehabilitation was carried out at Ramanagar village on Joida taluk. It is full of unique wildlife, exotic birds and is also a tiger habitat. There is a need to stop all 10 proposed dams in Uttara Kannada district, the petition said. "Instead of pursuing potential wind and solar energy, the authorities are harping on the destructive route, which will only endanger the ecological hotspot. The petitioners have prayed to declare the district as a mini hydel project-free zone," S Shankar Bhat, counsel for the petitioners said.





Bomb scare jolts High Court
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Bomb-scare-jolts-High-Court/articleshow/4367477.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0523 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: There was commotion on Monday afternoon near the High Court following an anonymous call to the control room stating there was a bomb in the court premises. Some unidentified person called the police control room at 2.30 pm and said a bomb has been placed in the High Court and hung the call. Dog and bomb squads immediately arrived on the spot and screened the building. It was then declared that the phone call was a hoax. Later, police officials said the phone call was traced to a coin booth in Hanumanthnagar. The investigations are on to find out the culprit. High court security has been upgraded with 12 SLRs in the wake of recent threats.




Follow court order on language policy, HC to govt
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Follow-court-order-on-language-policy-HC-to-govt/articleshow/4367483.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0524 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: Schools looking to switch over to English medium from Kannada, got some relief from the high court on Monday. With the state government dithering even after a full bench order, the court gave them a boost by quashing the endorsement issued by the DDPI, rejecting the registration of English medium schools. It asked the state government to consider the fresh application within four weeks, in keeping with the high court verdict of July 2, 2008 on language policy. Rajajinagar Education Society, which runs Aurobindo Vidya Mandir, filed an application seeking registration as English medium, which was rejected by the DDPI with an endorsement dated February 25. The Education Society, along with Karnataka Unaided Schools Managements Association (KUSMA) had challenged the DDPI's order rejecting the application. The endorsement cited the 1994 language policy, though the High Court bench had set aside the policy, and said the apex court had not issued any stay order on a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the state government. As there is no stay order from the apex court, the state is bound to follow the HC verdict, said Justice Mohanshantanagoudar. The state has no power to refuse registration for an English medium school, in view of the July verdict. The Supreme Court heard the SLP only once, on August 29, 2008, posted it before the registrar there and issued formal notices to the respondents, but did not issue a stay order, the counsel told the court. However, the government advocate said the apex court is due to hear the SLP filed by the state on April 21, and that the full bench didn't fully reject the state's language policy, as the petitioners claimed.





HC directs criminal case against panchayat chief
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/HC-directs-criminal-case-against-panchayat-chief/articleshow/4367627.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0350 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras high court has directed the Tiruvallur district police administration to register a criminal case against a local body chief and his henchmen who had threatened and assaulted a private contractor. A direction to this effect was given by justice R Regupathi, on a petition filed by Kumaraguru, who alleged that the Kathivakkam municipal chairman and his associates had threatened and assaulted him when he refused to pay them huge amounts of money to execute the contract work in their "jurisdiction." According to Kumaraguru, he was attacked with deadly weapons and that he had to be hospitalised with severe injuries. His car too had been damaged. On January 30, he lodged a complaint with the Ennore police, who gave an acknowledgement receipt. However, since no action was taken thereafter, he filed the present direction petition. Justice Regupathi, pointing out that Kumaraguru had duly submitted injury certificate as well as photographs of the damaged car, said the Ennore police had kept the complaint pending "under the guise of conducting inquiry from January 20 without any progress." The judge then directed the Tiruvallur district superintendent of police to register the case on the basis of the complaint, and depute some other investigating officer not below the rank of inspector of police to investigate the case. He also directed the district police chief to give police protection to Kumaraguru so that his contract work could be continued.





Only one autorickshaw permit for a person: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Only-one-autorickshaw-permit-for-a-person-HC/articleshow/4367624.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0349 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: With a view to prevent private financiers and earlier beneficiaries from walking away with autorickshaw permits in the city, the Madras High Court has asked the government to reject the applications of those who already own permits in their names or in the names of any other members of their families. Justice V Ramasubramanian, while upholding the lots system to select 2,468 beneficiaries out of 22,171 applicants, said the transport authorities must scrutinise the applications of all the selectees and reject the applications of those who already hold permit either in their name of that of their family members. "To enable the transport authorities to do this, the government may have to issue suitable amendments to annexure-II (non-subsidy category) of the March 1, 2007 government order," he said, adding that the selected persons are yet to acquire a vested right. The judge was passing orders on a batch of writ petitions, filed by associations as well as individuals against drawal of lots to select the beneficiaries. Lifting a seven-year ban on new autorickshaw permits in 2005, the government had initially decided to issue 5,000 permits. Later, it was decided to issue 2,500 permits under subsidy-cum-loan category and 7,500 permits under non-subsidy scheme. While the subsidy scheme carried several eligibility criteria such as income ceiling, driver being the owner of the vehicle, age limits, etc, the non-subsidy scheme had only one condition -- the applicant should be a resident of Chennai city. Rejecting the petitioners' challenge to the validity of the very lots scheme, justice Ramasubramanian said it was "perfectly justified and legally valid." Given the overwhelming response to the advertisement, manual selection process would be difficult, he said, adding that the technical director of the National Informatics Centre too had filed an affidavit and demonstrated the efficacy of the software to select beneficiaries randomly. "I find no reason to doubt that a scientific process had been adopted...," he said. In order to fulfil a social object for which the ban was lifted in 2005, the government is free to prescribe any other condition "that would prevent financiers and economically well-placed persons from getting permits by the sheer fortuitous circumstances of getting selected in the draw of lots," justice Ramasubramanian observed.





Property tax on private school bldgs challenged
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Property-tax-on-private-school-bldgs-challenged/articleshow/4367630.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0352 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The legality of a state amendment, which enables local bodies to collect property tax for unaided school buildings where self-financing courses are conducted, has been challenged in the Madras high court. Justice V Ramasubramanian, before whom the writ petition was filed by advocate R Suresh Kumar on behalf of the Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation and Higher Secondary Schools Managements Association, ordered notices to the Rural Development Department on Monday. The matter will come up for further hearing on April 8. The petition challenged the amendment made to Rule 15(c) of the Tamil Nadu Village Panchayats (Assessments and Collection of Taxes) Rules 1999. By virtue of the amendment, which came into effect from March 5, 2008, self-financing institutions running without any aid from the government should pay house/property tax for buildings that are used by them. The rule exempts aided private institutions from paying the tax to local bodies. Only recently, the high court had dismissed a batch of writ petitions that challenged demand notices issued by various local bodies seeking tax and arrears from unaided educational institutions in their jurisdiction. While the earlier batch of petitions was against specific demand notices, the present petition filed by the association challenges the very validity of the amendment which empowers the local bodies to issue such notices. The petition, filed by the association president D Chrisdass, contended that the government sought to discriminate between aided and unaided private institutions. Noting that it was unfair to exclude the unaided institutions from the purview of the exemption clause, the association said the already over-burdened private institutions would be forced to pay up huge amount towards taxes. Besides seeking a stay on the operation of the March 5, 2008 order, the petitioner-association wanted the court to declare the amendment as unconstitutional.





Student death: HC dismisses petition against school authorities
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Student-death-HC-dismisses-petition-against-school-authorities/articleshow/4367523.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0532 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : Trustees and principal of Adharsheela school, located on the outskirts of city, are in trouble after Gujarat High Court refused to quash a complaint against them in connection with the death of a student. Vishal Kuldeepsinh Rana, 19, student of class IX, was approaching his classroom after recess on December 30 last year, when a heavy bag full of construction material fell on his head. It was thrown by a construction worker from the roof, as repairing work was going on in school. Vishal succumbed to his injuries the next day, and his father lodged a complaint against the school trustees and principal Damubhai Patel, Kantibhai Patel and Smitaben Sheth holding them responsible for the his death. After this, all three approached high court to quash the complaint against them. They contended that they had nothing to do with the death and that the incident was an accident. On the other hand, advocate Mehul Mehta for Rana argued that repairing work contract was awarded by school authorities with a condition that the work should be completed during the vacation. But it got prolonged and resulted in this accident. Moreover, Mehta also argued that after the incident the district education officer issued a circular asking schools to get construction work completed during vacations only. After hearing both the parties, Justice AS Dave dismissed school authorities' petition observing that it was a serious incident and must be investigated properly.




Archaic law comes in handy for jail officials
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Archaic-law-comes-in-handy-for-jail-officials/articleshow/4367560.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0534 hrs IST, TNN
Ahmedabad : The British left the country 62 years ago, but the laws they made are still in place. And, one of these laws has come to the rescue of jail officials. A magisterial court on Monday turned down applications demanding investigation into beating up of prisoners in Sabarmati Central Jail on March 27. Magistrate GM Patel has directed jail authorities to provide extra food and medical treatment by specialists to the injured. But, the court categorically refused to get the panchnama of injury marks done with the observation that there's no provision in law for this. The court can't issue orders against jail officials as they have powers to beat up prisoners on mass hunger strike. As per jail superintendent V Chandrashekhar's report, blasts accused and nearly 300 others were on hunger strike. Bombay Jail Manual of 1935 states that mass hunger strike in jail amounts to mutiny' and prescribes disciplinary actions. Jail authorities can isolate prisoners. The manual also says they should be warned that if they continue with the hunger strike they are liable to be whipped', forfeit all earned remission', be removed from the remission register' and other punishments suitable under Rule 703. Jail authorities have described injuries 22 blasts accused sustained in the report. It says they were beaten up because they engaged in rioting after jail staff tried to stop some of them from forcing others to join the hunger strike. Meanwhile, petitioner and advocate Shamshad Pathan has urged HC again to appoint a court commission to investigate the incident and also probe alleged beating up of six other inmates by the jail superintendent. Earlier, HC had asked the additional principal sessions judge to visit the jail premises and report on the injuries, but the report was not submitted. The court has now directed the judge to submit the report and kept further hearing on the matter for next Monday.





One gets 10 years for rape
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/One-gets-10-years-for-rape/articleshow/4367585.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0724 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The children's court on Monday sentenced one Deepak Nanku Singh to 10 years imprisonment on charges of raping a minor girl. While the accused was held guilty by the court on April 1, the matter for deciding the quantum of punishment was fixed on Monday. He was charged for having sexual intercourse with the victim for a period of three months, from March 18, 2008, after taking her to Pune from Quepem. During the trial, the accused told the court that he had married the girl, but the girl denied being marriage to him. However, she admitted that she was in love with the accused. The prosecution proved the case on the basis of the medical report, deposition of the victim and other witnesses. During the hearing on the quantum of punishment, the accused prayed for leniency because Singh and the minor girl were in love with each other, but the public prosecutor said that the accused be punished in accordance with law. The judge held that Section 8 (2) Childrens Act, 2003 provides that imprisonment shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 2 lakh. "In the facts and circumstances of this case, as the accused and the victim girl were apparently in love, I am inclined to accept the plea of the accused for leniency," the president of the court, Desmond D'Costa, observed. He ordered that the accused undergo simple imprisonmetn for a term of ten years. The accused is also directed to pay a fine of Rs 2 lakh, and in default, to undergo simple imprisonment for six months.





29-year-old held guilty of murder
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/29-year-old-held-guilty-of-murder/articleshow/4367614.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0742 hrs IST, TNN
MARGAO: One Rajesh Marathe, 29, a resident of Sanguem, was on Monday held guilty of murder by additional sessions judge P Savoikar. The quantum of sentence will be announced on April 13. It may be recalled that the accused was arrested by Margao town police on November 2, 2005, under Section 302 of IPC, for stabbing one Sana Shaikh, 20, with a broken bottle that caused grievous injuries to his neck, leading to death. The incident occurred near the Margao wholesale fish market where Sana was employed as a loader. The prosecution pointed out that the motive behind the murder was previous enmity and that Sana and Rajesh were under the influence of alcohol when a verbal argument led to a physical fight.






Police get notice on bail plea
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Police-get-notice-on-bail-plea/articleshow/4367731.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0502 hrs IST, Rajinder Nagarkoti, TNN
PANCHKULA: The court issued a notice to Panchkula Police seeking a reply in response to the regular bail application moved by two accused arrested for allegedly looting jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh from two employees of an Amritsar-based jeweller on January 22 on Monday. ‘Kabir of Sector 33 in Chandigarh and Jackson from West Bengal have stated in their application that they were not involved in the robbery and police did not recover anything from their possession as well. Stating that cops had no evidence against the two, who have been behind bars for more than a month now, have sought bail,’ said sources.





Law students get international laurel home
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/Law-students-get-international-laurel-home/articleshow/4367740.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0524 hrs IST, TNN
MOHALI: The team comprising Vaibhav Sharma, Jagteshwar Sohi and Ish Puneet Singh, students of Army Institute of Law (AIL), Mohali, has secured the third position in the world finals of the 13th International Environmental Moot Court Competition hosted by Stetson University College of Law Florida, USA from March 25-28 on its Gulfport campus. It was only the third occasion when India had gone this far in this competition reportedly reckoned among the most prestigious moot court competitions in the world. It saw over 15 teams from five continents compete on issues of international environmental law. The format of competition involved regional qualifying rounds in each country to select representative teams. India’s led by Vaibhav had qualified to represent the country after taking part in national rounds at NLIU, Bhopal, in October. The group advanced to preliminary rounds of the competition by beating teams from Brazil, Ukraine and USA. It then defeated J





RTI Act: NBRI demand for ID proof from applicant unjustified
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Lucknow/RTI-Act-NBRI-demand-for-ID-proof-from-applicant-unjustified/articleshow/4367875.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0357 hrs IST, Neha Shukla, TNN
LUCKNOW: An RTI applicant may or may not possess a ration card. The Act has no provision requiring an information seeker to submit any proof of identity. This restricts a public authority from asking an applicant to submit such details unless it has `very strong' reasons to do so. However, National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) seems to make it a common rule now. It will provide information to the applicants only when they submit a copy of voter card, PAN card or ration card. The response issued by NBRI on March 31 to a query regarding the number of PhD degrees awarded under the guidance of few of its scientists clearly asks an applicant to submit the proof of identity in support of being a citizen of India. The response does not mention the reason behind asking for such a proof. It is also not clear if it was a case-specific response or will it be a common rule. Though the public information officer (PIO) of the institute could not be contacted and the reason behind the move could not be ascertained, sources claimed that this might help the institute to check the number of applications coming from fictitious sources. The response shot off by the PIO informed the applicant that information requested by her was ready. But, it can be provided only after she would submit documents in support of her identity proof of being a citizen of India which could be a copy of PAN card/ration card/voter card. On the receipt of the above, the information will be sent to her. The information commissioners and activists might differ in opinion but they agree unanimously that RTI Act does not mention any such thing. "There is no such provision mentioned in the law but as an exception it might be done and the public authority will have to have a very strong reason behind asking for an identity proof,'' said Shailesh Gandhi, information commissioner, Central Information Commission, New Delhi. The reasons have to be mentioned in the response issued to the applicant which NBRI has not done. In the cases heard by information commissions in other states there have been instances where PIOs have challenged the integrity of the applicants. In such cases a step like this might be taken but it can never be a routine exercise on the part of the public authorities. "It cannot be allowed to become a general practice as public authorities can use it as a tactic to delay information,'' said Gyanendra Sharma, chief information commissioner, UPSIC. Such response could only come with very strong reasons, he added.





PIL seeking restriction against SP candidate from fighting elections
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Lucknow/PIL-seeking-restriction-against-SP-candidate-from-fighting-elections/articleshow/4367908.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0423 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: The high court has issued a notice to the Samajwadi Party candidate from Faizabad parliamentary constituency, Mitra Sen Yadav as to how he has been contesting polls for 28 years, though he had been convicted for death penalty, which was later converted into lifer and still later pardoned by governor, in a murder case of 1966. The court has ordered that the outcome of Mitra Sen's election from Faizabad seat shall be subject to final order of it to be passed on PIL. The bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Shabihul Hasnain has further directed the state government and the election commission to file a reply on the PIL within three weeks. The PIL has been filed by a local lawyer, Nirdesh Dixit and two others, seeking restriction on Mitra Sen from contesting election. Petitioner's counsel, Ashok Pandey submitted that Mitra Sen was implicated in a murder case in 1966. He was convicted with capital sentence in the case. It was converted into life imprisonment, which was confirmed by the supreme court. Subsequently, UP governor granted him pardon. The election commission issued a letter in 1977 permitting Mitra Sen to contest elections. The petitioners have challenged the election commission's order, on the basis of which Mitra Sen has been contesting election.





RTI workers campaign to enlighten villagers
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Patna/RTI-workers-campaign-to-enlighten-villagers/articleshow/4367438.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0318 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: Ranjit Kumar of Vaishali has formed a group of youths who are making villagers at blocks and panchayat levels aware about the Right to Information (RTI) and trying to solve their problems related to various government offices through this mechanism. It includes listing of names in BPL list, scholarship to students, old age pension, ration, Indira Awas units etc. Similarly, Sunil Jha of Darbhanga made it a point that all the government offices in his block should declare names of information officers and now his group is doing this at district level. These two youth narrated the efforts they have made in the larger interest of the poor and illiterate people who have very little information about the RTI. They were among 70 members of the Bihar Right to Information Manch who gathered here at the Youth Hostel. The meeting was chaired by Manch convener Parveen Amanullah. The members listed the problems people were facing in seeking information from the government offices. They alleged that despite three years of implementation of the Act, most of the information officers were not providing full information within the prescribed time limit and closed the matter.





No coercive action against BSEB chief: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Patna/No-coercive-action-against-BSEB-chief-HC-/articleshow/4367768.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0336 hrs IST, Ravi Dayal, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday directed the state vigilance department not to take any coercive action against Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) chairman Swapan Mukherjee till April 27. The court adjourned the hearing of Mukherjee's petition to that date. The petition sought quashing of the FIR lodged against him by BSEB, vigilance cell, for allegedly causing wrongful gains to M/S Dadiji Steel Ltd and loss to the state exchequer. A single bench presided over by Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi allowed time to vigilance counsel Rakesh Kumar, who represented BSEB, DG, vigilance, Manoje Nath, to file a counter-affidavit raising preliminary objections regarding maintainability of the BSEB chairman's quashing petition.





Court orders Sunny to appear till April 17
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Jaipur/Court-orders-Sunny-to-appear-till-April-17/articleshow/4367866.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0456 hrs IST, Abhinav Sharma, TNN
JAIPUR: A single judge bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma on Monday directed actor Sunny Deol to appear before the additional chief judicial magistrate (Railway) court Jaipur and to furnish a person bail bond of Rs 25,000 for his alleged non-appearance before the court despite the court's warrant for more than a decade. The court, however, made it clear that if Sunny does not turn up in the court till April 17 he may be directed to be arrested immediately. Sunny Deol, Karisma Kapoor, fight master Tinu Verma and Satish Shah were accused in 1997 for illegally entering Narena railway station of Phulera in Ajmer division and shooting the film 'Bajrang' by illegally pulling the chain of train 2413, an uplink express. Sunny Deol on Monday moved an application for exemption from his personal appearance in the railway court due to health reasons. The court directed him to produce the original track record of his ailment. The film unit was shooting at Sanvarda village near Phulera in Ajmer district and to shoot a scene the director along with a big mob entered the platform of Narena railway station when the train was about to stop at the scheduled time. However, when the train was about to leave again the unit members pulled the emergency chain and the train was stopped for additional 25 minutes. Besides this a huge crowd gathered at the platform which hampered the whole train communication and traffic system at that time. Karisma Kapoor had already appeared before the Railway court on March 24. The actor duo had also assailed the order of the single judge in a special leave to appeal before the Supreme Court in March but the apex court also turned down the request. After a report lodged by the then assistant station master, Sita Ram Malakar, with the police station GPR, Phulera, Railway police registered an FIR against the film crew. The ACJM (Railway) court Jaipur took cognizance in the matter and issued warrant for the accused. On June 18, 1997 an application was filed by Sunny and Karisma requesting exemption from personal presence and recalling of the order of cognizance. The ACJM (Railway) dismissed the application, the order of which was assailed in a revision petition filed by the actors in the high court. The revision petition remained pending for about 11 years until Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma finally dismissed the revision petition. Justice Sharma ordered that the warrant issued against actors will stay for a month from the date of order if they appear before the court and submit a personal bail bond of Rs 25,000 with two sureties. But if the same is not submitted, the court may order their arrest to secure their presence in the court. Karisma filed the bond but Sunny Deol did not turn up despite the order.





HC hears PIL against shifting of IPL matches
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Jaipur/HC-hears-PIL-against-shifting-of-IPL-matches/articleshow/4367853.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0433 hrs IST, TNN
JAIPUR: A public interest litigation seeking a restraint order against the IPL matches being shifted to South Africa came up before the Rajasthan High Court on Monday. The petitioners -- Rameshwar Nirvan and Krishna Murari Lal Asthana --through their advocate Abhinav Sharma, also sought a direction to the Centre to provide adequate security for the matches to be held in the country itself. The petition was heard by a division bench comprising Justice R C Gandhi and Justice Mahesh Bhagwati. The PIL, which mentioned IPL chief Lalit Modi and the BCCI as respondents, was filed on the ground that shifting of the matches to Johannasberg will cause huge revenue losses to the nation and deprive the people a source of great entertainment culminating in national shame. It also gives a message that the country was not competent to combat terrorist threats, said the petitioners. "If the safety and security are serious concerns for the politicians, then elections pose the biggest threat and drawing a corollary from the shifting of IPL matches, the elections may also be held in a foreign nation where the citizens may have no security threat," the petitioners argued. Advocate Sharma argued that just because Sri Lankan team was attacked in Pakistan, it could not be made the ground for not allowing the IPL tournament in India.





PIL against unaccounted money in Swiss banks
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/PIL-against-unaccounted-money-in-Swiss-banks/articleshow/4367076.cms
6 Apr 2009, 2207 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Allahabad High Court, requesting the court to direct the Union government to take steps to ascertain the unaccounted money deposited in Swiss banks by Indians. The PIL also prayed to ascertain the persons of Indian origin, who have deposited the money and to get back the money for discharging the liability of foreign debt and spend it for economic development. The PIL also requested the court to direct the goverrnment to disclose and publish the correspondence between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and LK Advani, leader of Opposition LK regarding steps to get back the unaccounted money in foreign banks by Indians. The PIL has been filed by Azadi Bachao Andolan and others.





SC gives marching orders to nursing homes in residential buildings
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/SC-gives-marching-orders-to-nursing-homes-in-residential-buildings/articleshow/4367040.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0329 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday virtually drew curtains for more than 1,000 clinics and nursing homes operating from residential buildings in Mumbai. It put a virtually impossible condition to them -- construct an independent stairway or lift for the clinic or nursing home within six months after obtaining permission from the civic body or move out. This means these clinics and nursing homes have six months to do the needful or move out. The apex court endorsed the Bombay HC's view that stairways or lifts meant for people living in residential buildings could not be used by patients and relatives visiting the clinics daily. Upholding the HC order, a Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and P Sathasivam said the large number of patients and relatives coming to these clinics, nursing homes and surgical units every day could not be permitted to use the common stairway or lifts meant for residents and, in the process, cause discomfort to them and disturb their right to live peacefully. Disposing of an appeal filed by Association of Medical Consultants (Mumbai), claiming to have over 6,000 doctors and 1,500 nursing homes as its members, the Bench said making an exception for a single nursing home, even if it had genuine difficulty, could open a Pandora's box. Appearing for the petitioner association, senior advocates Harish Salve and Ashok Desai said that given the paucity of commercial premises and the exorbitant rent and cost of land, it was well-nigh impossible for these small clinics and nursing homes to find alternative space. The counsel expressed apprehension that closure of these mini-health facilities could lead to collapse of healthcare system in Mumbai, where there was a severe shortage of hospital beds given its burgeoning population. But the Bench countered it saying public interest needed to be balanced. "We are conscious of the problem raised by the counsel. We are not saying that these clinics and nursing homes are to be treated as outcastes. But when residents have purchased the flats with so much money, they have a right to some privacy," it said. The case in hand related to purchase of two flats in Dadar Avanti Cooperative Housing Society Limited at Senapati Bapat Marg in Dadar, Mumbai, in 1979 by two doctors who converted them into a mini-surgical unit. However, in 1984, the government changed the building user description from commercial to residential. The doctors moved for change of user tag from residential to commercial and the authority, after first declining, accorded permission. The society moved the HC in 1994. A single judge Bench of the HC finally dismissed the society's petition in 2003. However, a division Bench of the HC allowed the appeal filed by the society and set aside the single judge's order. dhananjay.mahapatra@timesgroup.com





PIL challenging Varun's detention dismissed
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/PIL-challenging-Varuns-detention-dismissed/articleshow/4367910.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0429 hrs IST, TNN
LUCKNOW: Chief standing counsel (CSC) of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court, Devendra Upadhyay, on Monday, stressed that PIL challenging Varun Gandhi's detention by the state government under NSA was filed here only for gaining cheap popularity. Therefore, owing to the court's reluctance to entertain the PIL, the petitioner was requested to withdraw it. The bench comprising Justice U K Dhaon and Justice Satish Chandra, accordingly, dismissed the PIL, holding it not maintainable. A local lawyer, S C Srivastava, had filed the PIL seeking quashing of Varun's detention and checking misuse of NSA in the state. CSC, Upadhyay submitted that Varun had already challenged his detention before supreme court. So, the PIL was misconceived and not maintainable. He further pleaded that the petitioner did not mention a single instance of misuse of the NSA in the state. He argued that a writ can not be issued on mere allegation.





Sentence should reflect the conscience of society: SC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Sentence-should-reflect-the-conscience-of-society-SC/articleshow/4366973.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0330 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Beaten black and blue by miscreants, a man lost his memory. But his relatives were even more shocked when Punjab and Haryana High Court reduced the sentence of the accused from 10 years to 7 years imprisonment. It shocked the Supreme Court as well. A Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and A K Ganguly promptly stamped out the leniency shown by the HC and restored the sentence of 10 years originally awarded by the trial court to the main culprit. Shaken by HC's misplaced sympathy in a case relating to merciless beating of one Ram Swarup, who lost his memory due to the injuries, the Bench said, "Protection of society and stamping out criminal proclivity must be the object of law which must be achieved by imposing appropriate sentence." "Therefore, in operating the sentencing system, law should adopt the corrective machinery of deterrence based on factual matrix," said Justice Pasayat, writing the judgment for the Bench. Criminal law vests significant discretion in a judge in arriving at a sentence in each case, presumably to permit sentences that reflect more subtle considerations of culpability that are raised by the special facts of each case, he said. Though the judge has the discretion to impose sentence, his object should be to protect society and deter the criminal, in achieving the avowed object to law, by imposing appropriate sentence, the Bench said. "It is expected that the courts would operate the sentencing system so as to impose such sentence which reflects the conscience of the society and the sentencing process has to be stern where it should be," it said.





Reduction in sentence but not compensation in rash driving case: SC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Reduction-in-sentence-but-not-compensation-in-rash-driving-case-SC/articleshow/4367041.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0327 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: This Supreme Court ruling is sure to give succour to victims of rash and negligent driving. It said a high court can convict the accused for a lesser offence and reduce the sentence imposed by the trial court, but cannot slash the compensation amount fixed by the latter. In most of the deaths caused by rash and negligent driving, the singular effort of the counsel for the accused is to get the offence converted from the one under Section 304-I to Section 304-II of Indian Penal Code, for the latter provided for a punishment of two years jail term as against the former prescribing 10 years imprisonment. Petitioner Kaliben Rabari had moved the Supreme Court challenging a Gujarat HC order reducing the sentence of a convict in a rash and negligent driving case from 10 years, as imposed by the trial court, to two and a half years after finding that the offence could be categorised under Section 304-II. She had also challenged the HC's judgment reducing the compensation amount from Rs 5 lakh, as determined by the trial court, to Rs 3 lakh. Allowing the appeal, a Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and A K Ganguly said at a time when the HC had refused to extend the benefits of Probation of Offenders Act to the accused persons, it was unfortunate on its part to have reduced the compensation amount. "We find that in a case of this nature, where the HC has altered conviction from Section 304-I to 304-II, IPC, and has considerably reduced the period of custodial sentence, there was no basis for reducing the compensation as awarded," said Justice Pasayat writing the judgment for the Bench. "No reason has been indicated to justify the reduction. Accordingly, we enhance the quantum of compensation to Rs 5 lakh," the Bench said ordering the convicts to pay up the balance amount to the woman.





TOP ARTICLE Not Above The Law
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Editorial/TOP-ARTICLE--Not-Above-The-Law/articleshow/4366621.cms
7 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, Abhinav Chandrachud
The release of the film Desh Drohi has signified a momentous constitutional victory for the Indian citizen, and his right to express himself. The Supreme Court a few months ago brushed aside claims that the movie's release would disturb public order owing to its references to north Indians, and affirmed the judgment of the Bombay high court.
The decision has added to a steady stream of pro-free speech cases: Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy, a Marathi play based on the life of Gandhi's assassin; Chand Bujh Gaya, a movie based on the Gujarat riots; The Da Vinci Code, a movie based on Dan Brown's famous novel; M F Husain's nude paintings; and even smoking on screen in Indian films: all have been vindicated by an Indian constitutional court's orders. While the court's speech discourse has remarkably protected individual rights to expression and self-realisation, it has shown a strange tendency to deviate from its liberal trajectory when "anti-judiciary" speech is involved.
The old notion of 'scandalising the court', derived from England where it has allegedly not been used since 1931, continues to be used in India to supposedly protect the reputation of the judiciary, notwithstanding an amendment to contempt law in 2006. If "liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt", then this seeming judicial double standard casts considerable doubt on the freedom of speech and the legitimacy of constitutional courts in India. In 1995, the Third Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals held that the delay in the Indian judicial system was so "profound and extreme" that a remedy before an Indian court was "clearly inadequate": an unusually strong censure of the Indian judicial system. Yet, Indian public discourse is constrained to maintain an untarnished image of the courts and judiciary, and nobody dares publicly condemn those responsible for the delay on a day-to-day basis, for fear of censure. The enormous judicial delay in India is further bolstered by hushed whispers of corruption in the Indian judiciary. Yet, judges' financial statements are not disclosed to the public. Does the judiciary form an undemocratic bubble in India's democracy? Although Indian contempt law was amended in 2006 to make 'truth' a defence, even true statements about the judiciary can be punished, unless they were made in the 'public interest'. Further, in August 2007, despite pleading 'truth' as a defence, journalists from the Mid-Day newspaper were sentenced to imprisonment by the Delhi high court for "tarnishing" the image of the Supreme Court. Free speech is meaningless unless it has space to breathe: false statements made honestly are equally a part of the freedom of speech. The Supreme Court of India has applied the famous New York Times vs Sullivan standard of American constitutional law against public officials. Accordingly, statements made against persons in the public eye cannot be considered defamatory unless they were made with "actual malice". The reason for this is simple: democratic governance mandates the strict scrutiny of public officials in the discharge of their official duties. However, a different standard seems to apply to the Indian judiciary, with whose honesty and integrity we are equally concerned. Traditionally, three arguments are made in favour of the power of courts to render punishment for 'scandalising' statements. First, it helps preserve the image of the judiciary, and garners public faith in the institution. Second, insulation from public opinion fosters judicial independence. Third, it protects the public, especially people who are subject to the jurisdiction of the court, from the mischief that will ensue if the authority of the court is undermined. Each of these arguments is rooted in the fallacious belief that the image of the judiciary will remain untarnished if free thought and dissent are stifled. After all, the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression carries with it the right to criticise. Indian contempt law also undervalues the viewpoint reinforcing function of free speech. If unduly critical statements about the Indian judiciary are not allowed to be made, then positive statements about the judiciary will be discounted as reflecting a lopsided, compelled version of the truth. If a citizen believes that the judiciary can be honestly criticised as well as praised, she will be more willing to accept the praise of the Indian judiciary. At a deeper level of abstraction, the source of a constitutional court's power lies in its legitimacy. Unlike successive governments, the Indian judiciary is not voted into office. Its legitimacy therefore lies in its acceptance by the Indian people. Which judges are appointed to office, to whom (if anyone) judicial delay is attributable, whether our judges are efficient, whether judicial administration is honest these are some of the questions that need to emerge in public debate. Cartoons, comics, political satire and the media must be permitted to make comment on the Indian judiciary. The noted jurist Lawrence Tribe would agree that free speech and quantum theory have one thing in common: the very act of observing a thing has the potential to change the thing observed. It remains to be seen whether the court's asymmetric treatment of free speech will balance itself out in the next few years. The writer is a graduate student at Harvard Law School.





JUDGMENTS

Hanumantappa Bhimappa Dalavai & Anr. vs. State of Karnataka dated 2009-03-31
http://legalapproach.net/case_details.php?jid=1417
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 672 OF 2005
Hanumantappa Bhimappa ..Appellants
Dalavai & Anr.
versus
State of Karnataka ..Respondent
J U D G M E N T Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
1. Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court upholding the convictions of the appellants for offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the ‘IPC’). The appellant No.1 was additionally convicted for offence punishable under Section 326 IPC.

2. Prosecution version in a nutshell are as follows:
The accused nos.1 to 3 - the deceased and injured belonged to Salahalli Village. There is a tea shop of the accused No.1 situated outside the village, by the side of the compound of which a public road is situated, some jail hedges have grown in the said land of accused No.1 by the other side of the road, which have over grown obstructing to some extent the public path. With regard to the inconvenience caused to the passers-by and the persons taking vehicles like tractor, the complainant - Irappa Aijappa Kuri (P.W.5) often complained to the accused No. l to cut the excess hedges, to which the accused No.1 paid no heed. On 1.2.1995, while coming home, the complainant asked the accused No.l to cut the excess growth of hedge for which the accused No.1 became angry and threatened that he would see the person who dared to cut the hedges and also abused the complainant. The next day evening, the complainant's younger brother -Mahadev (first deceased) came from Gokak and when the complainant and his family members told about the incident that had taken place on the previous day, Mahadev immediately expressed his desire to go to the accused No.1 and confront him about this. Then immediately, he left the place followed by the complainant (P.W.5), complainant's wife - Lalithawa Kuri (P.W.18), complainant's elder brother - Basappa Sidnal (the second deceased), complainant's sister - Suit Yallawwa Dundappa Shidnal (P.W.19), complainant's brother - Siddappa Ajjappa Kuri (P.W.20), complainants sisters-in-law - Renuka Kuri (P. W. 24) and Smt. Anasuya Sidnal (P.W.26). When Mahadev questioned the accused No. 1 about his behaviour with the complainant the previous day, the accused No. l became angry about the audacity of Mahadev in coming to his hotel about that matter and to question him; and challenging Mahadev, he went inside the hotel, brought a crow-bar and by that instrument gave a blow on the head of Mahadev. In the meantime, the accused No.1's son - Vittal (accused No.2) brought a stick and another son-Maruti (accused No.3) brought an iron rod saying that these people would not be allowed to go, and started assaulting them. The accused No-3 assaulted Basappa by means of an iron rod on account of which Basappa started to bleed. The accused No.1 gave a blow on the complainant's wife Lalithavva by means of the crow bar on account of which she fell down and when he attempted to give a blow by means of that crow-bar on the complainant, the complainant avoided it but the blow fell on his left hand and he sustained injury. The accused No.2 attacked P.W.18 by means of a stick. In the meantime, the people assembled and saved these persons. But, by that time Mahadev and Basappa had sustained grievous injuries. The injured were taken to Ramadurga in the jeep of Prakash (P.W.25). The doctor at Ramadurga examined Mahadev and pronounced him dead. For further treatment, Basappa and Lalithavva were taken to Belgaum hospital where Basappa died later. In the meantime, the police had received information in Kattakol Police Station, which had jurisdiction over the area and the. Sub-Inspector of Police went to Ramadurga with a Police Constable and took the complaint, on the basis of which a case was registered and investigation was taken up. The accused were not available. They were traced on 9.2. 1995 and were arrested and were produced before the learned Magistrate. They were remanded to judicial custody. After investigation, the Police filed a charge sheet against the accused.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed to be tried.
The prosecution examined in all 30 witnesses out of whom PWs. 5,18,19,20 to 26 are eye witnesses. The accused No.1 advanced a theory of self defence contending that the injured persons and the deceased persons had come to his hotel armed with deadly weapons challenging when he was alone in the hotel and challenging him they attempted to assault him. He contended when he ducked to avoid a blow, it fell on the head of the person, who was holding him and in consequence that person sustained injuries and that in the meantime, he managed to snatch one of the weapons held by the assailants and in self defence, a wide hit was given by him to the assailants and thereafter he escaped from the blows. It was his contention that he was not responsible for any injuries found on the deceased and the injured.
4. The trial court disbelieved the plea of right of private defence and held the appellant guilty as aforestated.
5. In appeal the High Court upheld the conviction discarding the stand of the appellant that this was a case of right of private defence.
6. In support of the appeal it was submitted that this is a case where the
right of private defence is clearly applicable, and prosecution version is not believable. Learned counsel for the respondent-State on the other hand supported the judgment.
7. Section 96, IPC provides that nothing is an offence which is done in
the exercise of the right of private defence. The Section does not define the expression ‘right of private defence’. It merely indicates that nothing is an offence which is done in the exercise of such right. Whether in a particular set of circumstances, a person acted in the exercise of the right of private defence is a question of fact to be determined on the facts and circumstances of each case. No test in abstract for determining such a question can be laid down. In determining this question of fact, the Court must consider all the surrounding circumstances. It is not necessary for the accused to plead in so many words that he acted in self-defence. If the circumstances show that the right of private defence was legitimately exercised, it is open to the Court to consider such a plea. In a given case the Court can consider it even if the accused has not taken it, if the same is available to be considered from the material on record. Under Section 105 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the burden of proof is on the accused, who sets up the plea of self-defence, and, in the absence of proof, it is not possible for the Court to presume the truth of the plea of self-defence. The Court shall presume the absence of such circumstances. It is for the accused to place necessary material on record either by himself adducing positive evidence or by eliciting necessary facts from the witnesses examined for the prosecution. An accused taking the plea of the right of private defence is not required to call evidence; he can establish his plea by reference to circumstances transpiring from the prosecution evidence itself. The question in such a case would be a question of assessing the true effect of the prosecution evidence, and not a question of the accused discharging any burden. Where the right of private defence is pleaded, the defence must be a reasonable and probable version satisfying the Court that the harm caused by the accused was necessary for either warding off the attack or for forestalling the further reasonable apprehension from the side of the accused. The burden of establishing the plea of self-defence is on the accused and the burden stands discharged by showing preponderance of probabilities is favour of that plea on the basis of the material on record. (See Munshi Ram and Ors. v. Delhi Administration: AIR 1968 SC 702: State of Gujarat v. Bai Fatima: AIR 1975 SC 1478: State of U.P. v. Mohd. Musheer Khan: AIR 1977 SC 2226: and Mohinder Pal Jolly v. State of Punjab: AIR 1979 SC 577). Sections 100 to 101 define the extent of the right of private defence of body. If a person has a right of private defence of body under Section 97, that right extends under Section 100 to causing death if there is reasonable apprehension that death or grievous hurt would be the consequence of the assault. The oft quoted observation of this Court in Salim Zia v. State of U.P. (AIR 1979 SC 391), runs as follows:
“It is true that the burden on an accused person to establish the plea of self-defence is not as onerous as the one which lies on the prosecution and that, while the prosecution is required to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, the accused need not establish the plea to the hilt and may discharge his onus by establishing a mere preponderance of probabilities either by laying basis for that plea in the cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses or by adducing defence evidence.”
8. The accused need not prove the existence of the right of private defence beyond reasonable doubt. It is enough for him to show as in a civil case that the preponderance of probabilities is in favour of his plea.
9. The number of injuries is not always a safe criterion for determining who the aggressor was. It cannot be stated as a universal rule that whenever the injuries are on the body of the accused persons, a presumption must necessarily be raised that the accused persons had caused injuries in exercise of the right of private defence. The defence has to further establish that the injuries so caused on the accused probabilises the version of the right of private defence. Non-explanation of the injuries sustained by the accused at about the time of occurrence or in the course of altercation is a very important circumstance. But mere non-explanation of the injuries by the prosecution may not affect the prosecution case in all cases. This principle applies to cases where the injuries sustained by the accused are minor and superficial or where the evidence is so clear and cogent, so independent and disinterested, so probable, consistent and credit-worthy, that it far outweighs the effect of the omission on the part of the prosecution to explain the injuries. [See Lakshmi Singh v. State of Bihar (AIR 1976 SC 2263)]. In this case, as the Courts below found there was not even a single injury on the accused persons, while PW2 sustained large number of injuries and was hospitalized for more than a month. A plea of right of private defence cannot be based on surmises and speculation. While considering whether the right of private defence is available to an accused, it is not relevant whether he may have a chance to inflict severe and mortal injury on the aggressor. In order to find whether the right of private defence is available to an accused, the entire incident must be examined with care and viewed in its proper setting. Section 97 deals with the subject matter of right of private defence. The plea of right comprises the body or property (i) of the person exercising the right; or (ii) of any other person; and the right may be exercised in the case of any offence against the body, and in the case of offences of theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass, and attempts at such offences in relation to property. Section 99 lays down the limits of the right of private defence. Sections 96 and 98 give a right of private defence against certain offences and acts. The right given under Sections 96 to 98 and 100 to 106 is controlled by Section 99. To claim a right of private defence extending to voluntary causing of death, the accused must shows that there were circumstances giving rise to reasonable grounds for apprehending that either death or grievous hurt would be caused to him. The burden is on the accused to show that he had a right of private defence which extended to causing of death. Sections 100 and 101, IPC define the limit and extent of right of private defence.
10. Sections 102 and 105, IPC deal with commencement and continuance of the right of private defence of body and property respectively. The right commences, as soon as a reasonable apprehension of danger to the body arises from an attempt, or threat, or commit the offence, although the offence may not have been committed but not until that there is that reasonable apprehension. The right lasts so long as the reasonable apprehension of the danger to the body continues. In Jai Dev. v. State of Punjab (AIR 1963 SC 612), it was observed that as soon as the cause for reasonable apprehension disappears and the threat has either been destroyed or has been put to route, there can be no occasion to exercise the right of private defence.
11. In order to find whether right of private defence is available or not, the injuries received by the accused, the imminence of threat to his safety, the injuries caused by the accused and the circumstances whether the accused had time to have recourse to public authorities are all relevant factors to be considered. Thus, running to house, fetching a tabli and assaulting the deceased are by no means a matter of course. These acts bear stamp of a design to kill and take the case out of the purview of private defence. Similar view was expressed by this Court in Biran Singh v. State of Bihar (AIR 1975 SC 87),in Sekar @Raja Sekharan v. State represented by Inspector of Police, Tamil Nadu [2002 (7) Supreme 124] and in Ananta Deb Singha Mahapatra & Ors. v. State of W.B. [2007 (13) SCC 374].
12. It is to be noted that there were a large number of eye witnesses who also had suffered injuries. PWs. 5,8,19,22 and 26 are such witnesses whose version is clear, cogent and credible and there is no reason to discard their version. Trial court and the High Court have rightly relied upon their evidence. Additionally when the factual scenario is tested on the touchstone of legal principles relating to right of private defence are concerned it is clear that the plea is without substance. Above being the position present appeal is sans merit, deserves dismissal, which we direct.

……..…… J.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
……..…… J.
(ASOK KUAMR GANGULY) New Delhi, March 31, 2009






Pradeep Kumar vs. State of Haryana dated 2009-03-31
http://legalapproach.net/case_details.php?jid=1418
REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 516 OF 2006

Pradeep Kumar ..Appellant
versus
State of Haryana ..Respondent

J U D G M E N T
Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.

1. Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court upholding the conviction of the appellant for offence punishable under Sections 302 and 304(B) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the ‘IPC’). He was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life for the first offence but no separate sentence was imposed for the second offence.

2. Appellant alongwith two others faced trial. Each was charged for having committed offences punishable under Section 304(B) IPC and Section 498A IPC. Appellant alone was separately charged for offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.
3. Prosecution version as unfolded during trial is as follows:
Kewal Krishan (PW 4) is the complainant. He is a resident of Ambala City. He is the Director of G.G. Flour Mills. He had four daughters and two sons. Marriage of his eldest daughter Suman Rani alias Anamika (hereinafter referred to as the ‘deceased’) was solemnized with appellant Pardeep Kumar alias Raju on 19.10.1996 in Laxmi Palace at Patiala. As per asking of the accused persons dowry and streedhan was given according to the capacity of the complainant on the festival of Karva Chauth, complainant's daughter Anamika along with appellant and, Anamika's father-in-law and mother-in-law came to their residence. Sufficient articles were given on Karva Chauth. On that day, Anamika told the complainant that her husband Pardeep Kumar who was running a shop at Yamuna Nagar in the name and style of New Punjab Tractors, wanted to take her to Yamuna Nagar. He demanded colour T.V., washing machine, Godrej almirah and a refrigerator. Thereafter his daughter went to her in-law's place in Village Dhanola, District Sangrur (Punjab). Ten to fifteen days thereafter, complainant's daughter rang them up from Dhanola that she along with her husband were shifting to Yamuna Nagar and the articles demanded should be sent to her at Yamuna Nagar. Complainant Kewal Krishan along with Mohinder Pal son of Bachan Lal resident of Ambala City came to Yamuna Nagar. They purchased colour T.V., washing machine, Godrej almirah and a refrigerator and handed them over to the appellant in his house. Complainant's wife was operated upon at Ambala for some ailment. Anamika came to see her mother. Anamika did not look well. Complainant Kewal Krishan enquired about her health. Anamika stated that her husband, father-in-law and brother-in-law Parveen Kumar were threatening that if she wanted to remain alive, she should get Rs.2 lacs from her father, as they wanted to expand their business at Yamuna Nagar. This demand was met and complainant gave Rs.50,000/- and requested for some time so that he will pay the remaining amount after arranging for it. This amount was given about a month prior to the death of Anamika. About 15 days before her death, Anamika made a telephone call to the complainant that her father-in-law Prem Nath had told her husband Pardeep Kumar that if Anamika did not arrange for the remaining amount, she should be eliminated, he would arrange for everything and perform his second marriage. Again on 23.1.1997, complainant's daughter gave a telephonic call to the complainant, that if 'the remaining amount was not arranged within 2/3 days, she would be eliminated.
On 25.1.1997 at about 9.30 p.m., Anil Kumar (PW-3) gave a telephonic call to the complainant that Anamika had got burnt by a gas cylinder. Complainant made a telephonic call to his brother Suresh Pal and his father Rameshwar Dass at Cheeka to reach Ambala. On their arrival from Cheeka, complainant along with them left for the house of his daughter at Yamuna Nagar. On reaching there, he saw his daughter lying dead on a double-bed. Besides her were lying a gas-cylinder, match- sticks and halt burnt papers.
Investigation was undertaken and on completion thereof, chargesheet was filed.
As accused persons abjured guilt, trial was held.
In order to further the accusations fifteen witnesses were examined. The trial court found the appellants and the co-accused persons guilty. By the impugned judgment High Court directed acquittal by the co-accused persons Prem Nath and Parveen Kumar, but upheld the conviction and sentence of appellant as aforenoted.
The trial court and the High Court placed reliance on the evidence of PWs 2, 3 & 4.
4. In support of the appeal learned counsel for the appellant submitted that there was no evidence of the appellant having committed offences as alleged. There is no direct evidence to hold that the appellant has committed murder of the deceased.
5. Learned counsel for the respondent on the other hand supported the judgment of the High Court confirming that of the trial court.
6. It is undisputed that the marriage took place on 9.10.1996 and the date of occurrence is 25.1.1997. The co-accused persons were the father and the brother of the appellant. The only evidence adduced by the prosecution to substantiate the allegation of commission of offence punishable under Section 302 IPC is that the accused and the deceased stayed in the same house. That according to us is not sufficient to hold the appellant guilty for offence punishable under Section 302 IPC on the facts of the present case. However, the accusations related to Section 304 B IPC are satisfied.
7. Section 304 B IPC reads as follows:
“304B. Dowry Death – (1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.”
5. The necessary ingredients of Section 304 B IPC are as follows:
(1) The death of the woman was caused due to burns, bodily injuries or due to unnatural circumstances.
(2) The death should be within seven years of marriage.
(3) It is shown that soon before death victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of the husband.
(4) The cruelty or harassment was for or in connection with any demand for dowry.
8. Therefore while setting aside the conviction for offence punishable under Section 302 IPC, we uphold the conviction, so far as it relates to Section 304 B IPC. Custodial sentence of ten years would meet the ends of justice. The appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent.

……..…… J.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
……..…… J.
(ASOK KUAMR GANGULY) New Delhi, March 31, 2009

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