Saturday, November 22, 2014
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
In a major setback to former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, the Bombay high court on Wednesday rejected a plea by the prosecuting agency CBI to drop him as an accused in the Adarsh housing society case.
Justice M L Tahaliyani pronounced the verdict via video conference from the Nagpur bench of the high court where he is now presiding. The judge, however, stayed the order for four weeks to enable an appeal.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had moved the HC after the special trial court judge declined a similar plea earlier.
Justice Tahaliyani while pronouncing the judgment did not give details or the reasoning. The detailed text of the ruling would be available later. Chavan, a Congress MP now, had stepped down as the CM late 2010 after the Adarsh controversy erupted in the media.
The CBI plea is based on the Maharashtra governor's refusal last December to grant sanction to prosecute Chavan for criminal conspiracy and cheating among other offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Since there is no evidence of conspiracy against Chavan, there remains no basis for the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act that he was also charged with, said the CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar. The HC seemed satisfied with the counsel's submission that no prior sanction is required for the corruption charges since Chavan was not an MLA or a public servant when the case was registered against him in 2011.
The judge heard the CBI and Chavan's counsel Amit Desai on the procedural law under which the plea was filed and appropriateness of provisions under which it is filed.
The CBI had informed the judge that section 321 of the criminal procedure code which deals with the prosecutor's power to withdraw an accused from prosecution with permission of the court at any time before the final judgment, is not applicable in this case since the trial court had yet to take cognizance of the chargesheet. Desai concurred and the judge had said he would record this statement.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Gujarat high court has upheld dismissal of a judge that was found indulged in corrupt practices by asking the parties to give just Rs 100 to Rs 200 to pass order in their favour.
Upholding dismissal for corrupt practice, the HC observed, "The Judges, at whatever level may be, represent the State and its authority. Unlike the bureaucracy, judicial service is not merely an employment nor the Judges merely employees. They are holders of public offices of great trust and responsibility. If a judicial officer 'tips the scales of justice its rippling effect would be disastrous and deleterious'. Dishonest judicial personage is an oxymoron."
In this case, a civil judge C H Upadhyay was posted as JMFC during 1999 and 2002 at Upaleta, where members of local Bar association complained that Upadhyay created disharmony in the function of the court by passing discriminative orders or by causing inordinate delay in giving verdicts.
The Bar association complained, "Upadhyay damaged impression of judicial department by adopting corrupt practice, while pressurizing advocates to get favourable orders by paying money as per his demands. His such corrupt practice was a talk of the town that he was getting Rs 100 to 200 for cancellation of warrants while exercising corrupt practice in court cases... He had also directly demanded money for passing orders in favour of the advocates of Upleta Bar Assocation and by that way he used to directly collect money from the litigant for passing the orders."
The Bar association also passed two resolutions in 2000 expressing its grievance about his rude and insulting behaviour. He would not pass any order, if he was not paid the money as per his demand, the Bar said.
Besides, Upadhyay was also charged with corruption for deciding cases to favour accused persons, when he allegedly acted in nexus with a local police officer.
The HC ordered two different inquiries against Upadhyay in 2000 and in 2004. After conducting the inquiry, the HC administration punished him by dismissing him in both the cases - in 2009 and 2011. Upadhyay filed two petitions before the HC bench, and the petitions were heard simultaneously. The division bench upheld the outcome of inquiry and punishment of dismissal awarded to the judge.
Friday, November 14, 2014
The conviction and jail term have been stayed by the high court, but the move clouds people's perception of the BJP government which came to power on the promise of a "clean" administration, coming as it does close to a vote of confidence that many believe was not above dubious.
"Halvankar's appointment to the crucial committee reflects the state of affairs in the BJP government. In the Centre too, Narendra Modi has appointed tainted ministers. Under such circumstances, one cannot expect appointment of clean persons in the state,"- Congress .
The cooperation and textiles department led by senior BJP leader Chandrakant Patil on Friday issued an order appointing Halvankar, the Ichalkaranji MLA and a power loom factory owner, as chairman of the high-level committee.
The bench headed by Justice Rajesh Bindal has directed the government to revert all SC employees promoted since 2006 on the basis of this policy to their original posts within three months.
The policy issued on March 16, 2006, was set aside by the HC in the Prem Kumar Verma case in August 2012, but the Haryana government had not withdrawn the benefits granted to some of the employees on its basis. HC has also issued notice to the then chief secretary, asking why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him for promoting employees of SC category after 2006 in the state.
"It is evident that the 2013 policy was issued by the then chief secretary despite being in the knowledge of the judgment of the Supreme Court in M Nagaraj's case and this court in Prem Kumar Verma case, I deem it appropriate to initiate proceedings for contempt against him," the HC observed.
The orders have come in the wake of a bunch of petitions filed by Rajbir Singh and others challenging the instructions issued by the Haryana government on February 28, 2013, providing 20% reservation for SC employees in promotion to Class-III and Class-IV posts.
Observing that the 2013 instructions have been issued totally in violation of the Supreme Court judgment, HC ordered that the benefits of accelerated promotion granted to all the members of reserved categories will also have to be reverted.
The HC also stayed state's decision to provide 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in public service, but allowed them reservation in education.
The HC bench headed by chief justice Mohit Shah was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PIL) filed against the reservation on the ground that they were not constitutional.
Monday, November 10, 2014
The NDA government is planning to make Aadhaar card mandatory for issuance of passports in a month’s time. In another bold step, the Centre is likely to do away with “police verification” prior to the issuance of a passport, if the applicant has a Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) number, and conduct it later.
The Ministry of External Affairs, in a note sent to the Home Ministry, has said, “The government is making Aadhaar card as a mandatory requirement for issue of passports. The MEA is working with The UIDAI to implement it and the process is expected to be completed by the end of this month. If the applicant is not in possession of Aadhaar card, the enrolment number can be produced.”
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be roped in to establish a system for validation of criminal antecedents of the applicant.
After Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), making Aadhaar mandatory for passports will be another push by the NDA government for the unique identification scheme, which was launched by the UPA government.
“Once the NCRB sets up its database, the criminal antecedents of the applicants for all categories will be verified before the passport is issued,” it said.
A senior official said PM Narendra Modi recently attended a meeting where the issue of delay in issuance of passports due to police verification was discussed. He added that a large number of complaints were being received at the PMO from applicants regarding police verification.
“The MEA is of the view that when an applicant already has an Aadhaar card or has applied for, his identity to a major extent is established — this needs to be confirmed by the UIDAI. Therefore, based on the NCRB validation and the applicant’s self declaration on the aspects of citizenship, criminality antecedents, criminal proceedings, summons or warrants etc, the passport can be issued on post police verification basis,” the note said.
It also said that when the passport is handed over to the applicant, the address of the concerned police station will also be given so that the “applicant can pursue and complete the process of police verification before travelling abroad”.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
As the matter came to light after the victim's husband lodged an FIR, the police on Sunday arrested 30 persons, nine of them from the victim's family. Senior police officers said that the woman has been shifted to a shelter home for the time being and she was being counseled.
The incident was reported from Thurval village, some seven km from Charbhuja town in Rajsamand district. "One Vardi Singh had died on November 2. The circumstances of his death are not known because the villagers cremated his body and didn't inform the police," said SP, Rajsamand, Sweta Dhankar.
The officer said that Vardi Singh's wife suspected that his aunt killed him.
"She approached the local community panchayat which decided to hear the case publicly. A meeting was held in the village in which it was declared that she had committed the crime, so she must be punished," said the officer.
The officer added that the woman was stripped at a place in the middle of the village.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Friday, November 7, 2014
Siddiqui filed a petition last month and requested the HC to direct the city police commissioner to ask the Bapunagar and Shahpur police to register an FIR on basis of his complaint against Mahamandaleshwar Naval Kishor Das, for his comments against Muslims and on Quran. Siddiqui had also filed a complaint against the television channel for airing the programme that provided platform to people to make adverse comments against the religion and its followers.
The Bapunagar police did not take any action. Siddiqui went to the HC and claimed that the police in Gujarat do not take action against those who hurt religious feelings of the minority community. On the other hand, cops are prompt in taking actions against those who allegedly make comment against the Hindu religion and divinity.
After hearing his case, Justice J B Pardiwala asked the commissioner to see that the Bapunagar and Shahpur police take a decision on Siddiqui's complaints in two weeks' time and act as per the law.
RBI has also asked banks to alert a customer with a phone call and obtain confirmation when dealing with suspicious or high-value cheques. Until now, SMS alerts were mandatory only for card transactions.
"The rise in the number of cheque-related fraud cases is a matter of serious concern. It is evident that many of such frauds could have been avoided had due diligence been observed at the time of handling and/or processing the cheques and monitoring newly-opened accounts," RBI said in a circular to all banks.