Friday, April 22, 2016

President's Rule in Uttarakhand to continue, Supreme Court stays high court order

Supreme Court today stayed till April 27 the judgment of the Uttarakhand High Court quashing the imposition of President's rule, giving a new turn to the continuing political drama in the state by restoring the Central rule there.


Before passing a brief order, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh recorded an undertaking given by attorney general Mukul Rohatgi that the "Union of India shall not revoke the Presidential proclamation till the next date of hearing".

The apex court clarified that it was keeping in abeyance the judgment of the High Court till the next date of hearing on April 27 as a measure of balance for both the parties as the copy of the verdict was not made available to the parties.

While listing the matter for hearing on April 27, the bench said that the High Court shall provide the judgment passed on Thursday to the parties by April 26 and on the same date the copy of the verdict shall also be placed before the apex court.

The Supreme Court's stay has the effect of undoing the revival of the Congress government led by Harish Rawat by the High Court judgement of Thursday.

During the hearing, the bench also observed that as a matter of propriety the High Court should have signed the verdict so that it would be appropriate for it to go into the appeal.

The apex court issued notice to Harish Rawat and chief seceretary of the state on the petition by Centre challenging the quashing of Presidential proclamation under Article 356 of the Constitution in the state. 

On Thursday, in a major embarrassment to the Modi government, the Uttarakhand high court had struck down the decision to impose central rule in the state and restored chief minister Harish Rawat's government.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

TRAI: Telcos running cartel, must compensate subscribers for call drops

Acusing telecom companies of running a cartel with scant care for customers facing the problem of call drops, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the firms were not upgrading infrastructure to ensure disruption-free calling and justified its decision to impose penalty.
Appearing for Trai before a bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R F Nariman, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said around 800 crore outgoing calls drop in a year, most of them because of the fault of telecom service providers which generated a revenue of about 1.4 lakh crore in 2014-15.


"Here we have a cartel of 4-5 big companies and they force consumers to sign on documents at the time of getting connection, which say that the operator would not be responsible for call drops. How would a poor consumer know what is there in the documents," the AG said.
He said the telcos were pocketing all the profits and not investing money on improving infrastructure which was virtually crumbling because of the ever increasing number of subscribers.


"The firms earned revenue of 249 crore per day from voice calls but investment in infrastructure has not kept pace with the increased subscriber base which at present is 1016 million. It is not my obligation to provide infrastructure.

14-Year-Old Was Driving When Car Fell Into Elevator Shaft Of His Building

The 14-year-old and the driver employed by his family were discovered dead nearly six hours after the accident.
A teen in Mumbai was driving his family's car when he reversed in the parking garage on the second floor of the apartment building and crashed into an elevator shaft. The car fell about 50 feet, said police sources.

The 14-year-old and the driver employed by his family, who was seated next to him, were discovered dead nearly six hours after the accident which took place yesterday.
Hafeez Patel, the teen, was being taught driving, said police officers to mid-day.com. The elevator was on the third floor when the black Etios car crashed into the deep cavity of the shaft built for cars in the 22-storey apartment building in Nagpada in South Mumbai.

"We started tracking the boy's mobile phone and traced it through GPS to the building. It was only around this time that the watchman figured out that a car had fallen into the lift shaft," said an unnamed police officer to mid-day.

The worried family decided to approach the police when repeated calls to the teen's phone went unanswered. The driver who was killed with him was identified as Javed Ahmed Shaikh. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Father can give property to married daughter, Supreme Court says

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court has ruled that a man is legally entitled to nominate his married daughter to own his cooperative society flat after his death, depriving his wife and only son.

The West Bengal Cooperative Societies Rules, 1987, stipulate that the owner of a flat in a cooperative society can nominate his house in favour of a person "belonging to his family".
Taking this rule as their defence, along with other provisions of the WB Cooperative Societies Act, 1983, Biswa Ranjan Sengupta's wife and son challenged the decision of the managing committee of Purbanchal Housing Estate, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, to transfer ownership of a flat to Indrani Wahi, Sengupta's married daughter.

Based on the objection, the deputy registrar of Cooperative Societies declined to record Indrani's name as the successor of the flat originally allotted to Sengupta, who in his last days was living with her because of "ill-treatment" by his wife and son.

Indrani's appeal was allowed by a single judge of the high court, which directed the flat to be registered in her name. But a division bench of the HC said Indrani was a part shareholder of the property along with Sengupta's wife and son and that she could dispose of the property only with the express consent of other shareholders. Indrani appealed against this judgment in the apex court.

A bench of justices JS Khehar and C Nagappan analysed the entire gamut of judgments on this issue and said: "There can be no doubt that where a member of a cooperative society nominates a person in consonance with provisions of the rules, on the death of such member, the cooperative society is mandated to transfer all the share or interest of such member in the name of the nominee. The rights of others on account of inheritance or succession is a subservient right. Only if a member had not exercised the right of nomination under Section 79 of the Act, then and then alone, the existing share or interest of the member would devolve by way of succession or inheritance."

Indrani's appeal was allowed by a single judge of the high court, which directed the flat to be registered in her name. But a division bench of the HC said Indrani was a part shareholder of the property along with Sengupta's wife and son and that she could dispose of the property only with the express consent of other shareholders. Indrani appealed against this judgment in the apex court. 
A bench of justices JS Khehar and C Nagappan analysed the entire gamut of judgments on this issue and said: "There can be no doubt that where a member of a cooperative society nominates a person in consonance with provisions of the rules, on the death of such member, the cooperative society is mandated to transfer all the share or interest of such member in the name of the nominee. The rights of others on account of inheritance or succession is a subservient right. Only if a member had not exercised the right of nomination under Section 79 of the Act, then and then alone, the existing share or interest of the member wo- uld devolve by way of succession or inheritance."


Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Khehar said: "It is not necessary for us to deal with the issue whether Indrani Wahi, being a married daughter of the original member, Biswa Ranjan Sengupta, could be treated as a member of the family of the deceased because the single judge, as also the division bench of the HC, have concluded that she was a member of the family." The court noted that this concurrent finding was not challenged by Sengupta's only son.
Holding that the cooperative society had no option but to register Indrani as the owner of the flat, the SC bench said it would be open to Sengupta's son to pursue his case of succession or inheritance in other forum.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

File complaint if hotels, stadium charge you more than MRP for packaged drinking water: Govt

Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said that the drinking water supplied by Delhi Jal Board is not safe for consumption as it is unable to meet the prescribed quality standards.

Paswan today urged the consumers to file complaints if they find packaged drinking water being sold at above the maximum retail price. This would also cover places like five star hotels, cinemas and airport so that the government can take strict action against the guilty.

Paswan attended a meeting of the Central Consumer Protection Council (CCPC) today where issue of safe drinking water was discussed.

"Nobody can drink tap water in Delhi. Delhi's water is not safe for drinking, though there are quality standards in place," he said after the meeting.

"There is lack of awareness among consumers on such issues. Be it cricket stadium or five star hotel or airport, if consumers see they are being charged more than MRP for packaged drinking water they should file complaint. We will take strict action," PTI quoted the minister as saying.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tribunal sets aside Rs258 crore airline fine

 In a major relief to Jet Airways, SpiceJet and IndiGo, the Competition Appellate Tribunal on Monday set aside a fine of Rs 258 crore imposed on them last December on charges of cartelization and "overcharging cargo freight in the garb of fuel surcharge". 
Hearing the airlines' appeal against that order of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), justice G S Singhvi said, "The appeals have been allowed." The case has been referred back to CCI for probing suspected cartelization by airlines in fixing fuel surcharges.


The CCI order had come on a complaint filed by Express Industry Council of India, which had also named Air India and GoAir, apart from the three airlines. The fair trade regulator did not find Air India and GoAir guilty.
"The basic concern in the present case is the overcharging of cargo freight, in the garb of fuel surcharge, by the air cargo transport operators, which adversely affect consumers. Such cartels in the air cargo industry particularly undermine economic development in a developing country," the CCI order had said. It had added that the fuel surcharge "will continue to be used as a pricing tool to the detriment of the users.... and thereby will also harm the competition."


CCI had asked Jet, IndiGo and SpiceJet to pay Rs 151.7 crore, Rs 63.7 crore and Rs 42.5 crore, respectively, within 60 days. No penalty was imposed on AI as its conduct was found above board. Similarly, no penalty was imposed upon GoAir as it gave its cargo belly space to third party vendors with no control on any part of commercial/economic aspects of cargo operations done by vendors, including imposition of fuel surcharge.

All in a riot mob equally guilty, Gujarat high court rules

The Gujarat high court has said that in cases involving charges of rioting, all the members of a mob should be held responsible for offences committed by any one of them. The observation came during a hearing on a nearly 13-year-old case of murder, dacoity and rioting in Ahmedabad's Shah-e-Alam area.
In November 2003, a riotous mb had intercepted commuters, committed dacoity, and even killed a pillion rider, Mukesh Panchal. Six of the 12 accused were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by a lower court, but they challenged their conviction in the HC.

Upholding the conviction, a bench of Justice KS Jhaveri and Justice G B Shah observed last week, "Riots, resulting in serious injuries or even death, are of frequent occurrence in this state and cases relating to such riots require careful handling." "A large number of persons are involved and evidence is often entirely of partisan character. There is, moreover, great danger of innocent persons being implicated along with the guilty, owing to the tendency of parties to try to implicate falsely as many of their enemies as they can," they added. 

Tribunal refuses to clear film on Modi-Kejriwal fight

Director Kamal Swaroop's controversial documentary over the 2014 Narendra Modi-Arvind Kejriwal poll clash 'Battle for Banares' has been denied certificate for public exhibition by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) on grounds that it may cause communal disharmony and cause divisions among embers of different castes.


In an order passed on April 4, FCAT headed by Justice S K Mahajan (retired) upheld the censor board's order that the 'Dance for Democracy/Battle for Banaras' was full of "hate and inflammatory speeches given by all the leaders of the political parties'' and "tries to divide people on caste and communal lines".


The Central Board of Film Certification had turned down the film's request for certification following which the filmmakers went in appeal to the FCAT.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Triple talaq: AIMPLB to contest Shayara Bano case in SC

With the All India Muslim Personal Law Board deciding to oppose any move to scrap triple talaq and contest the Shayara Bano case that has called it unconstitutional in the Supreme Court, the stage is set for another Shah Bano-like confrontation that had turned into a hot-button issue in the 1980s. 
In 1985, Shah Bano, a 62-year-old Muslim mother of five from Indore, who was divorced by her husband, had won the right to alimony in the SC. But the then Congress government of Rajiv Gandhi, under pressure of Islamic orthodoxy, passed the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986, which diluted the SC judgement, and denied even destitute Muslim divorcees the right to alimony.


The AIMPLB on Saturday also decided to thwart any attempt at intervention by the Centre, or "any authority", in the Muslim personal law.
Last month, the SC had admitted the petition of Shayara Bano from Uttarakhand seeking triple talaq to be declared unconstitutional. The apex court had also initiated suo motu proceedings to examine the need for protecting the rights of all Muslim women. AIMPLB is all set to become a party to the case.


"The SC has accepted the board as a party in the case. Now, the board will seek a similar intervention in the Shayara Bano case," said lawyer Zafaryab Jilani. Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who was also present, said AIMPLB must hire best lawyers to put up a strong case before the Supreme Court.

Friday, April 15, 2016

85 Grange Crescent - My house at London




















Vijay Mallya's Diplomatic Passport Suspended For 4 Weeks

India has suspended the passport of billionaire Vijay Mallya, who is in the UK at a time when banks are struggling to recover nearly a billion dollars owed by his Kingfisher Airlines.

Mr Mallya, 60, has defied several requests asking him to return to Mumbai for interrogation. His lawyers have said that he is making himself available in video-conferences to banks, and therefore, his presence in India is not necessary.


In repeated tweets, Mr Mallya, who is a Rajya Sabha MP, has said he is not an absconder. As a parliamentarian, he has a diplomatic passport, which is suspended for a month, said the government today. He has been given a week to explain why it should not be revoked.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Delhi Government Bans Sale Of All Forms Of Chewable Tobacco For 1 Year

Delhi government has banned for one year the sale, purchase and storage of all forms of chewable tobacco, including "guktha, pan masala, khaini and zarda", in the national capital.
The Department of Food Safety on Thursday issued a notification in this regard.

According to the notification, unpackaged products of chewable tobacco, too, are covered under the ambit of the ban.

"The manufacture, storage, distribution, or sale of tobacco which is either flavoured, scented or mixed... and whether going by the name or form of gutka, pan, masala, flavoured/scented tobacco, kharra, or otherwise... whether packaged or unpackaged and/or sold as one product, or though packaged as separate products, sold or distributed in such manner so as to easily facilitate mixing by the consumer" is prohibited for a period of one year, the notification stated.

Health department officials said a notification was issued by Delhi government in September, 2012, in pursuance of a series of directions from Supreme Court for a ban on 'gutkha' in the city.

But since the term 'gutkha' was used in that notification, tobacco retailers started selling the components of 'gutkha' (betel nut and raw tobacco) in separate pouches, thus defeating the purpose behind the ban on gutkha.

The health department had, therefore, come up with a new proposal for banning all raw chewable tobacco products in Delhi.

Premium for vehicle policy cheque dishonoured? what?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

'A Hindu Is A Hindu', Says Supreme Court On Women At Sabarimala Temple

The Supreme Court today observed that "In the Hindu religion there is no denomination of a Hindu male or female. A Hindu is a Hindu".  The remarks were made as the top court decides whether the famous Sabarimala temple in Kerala must end a centuries-old ban on women of reproductive age.


Judges said that denying women the right to worship at the temple could amount to a violation of their constitutional right to equality.   

The powerful trust that governs the Sabarimala temple and the Kerala government have both told the Supreme Court that the traditional ban on women must be preserved.  They argued today that the deity at the temple is a brahmachari or celibate, and the presence of women who are capable of giving birth impedes upon his "purity".

The judges said that argument, based in ritual and traditions, is unlikely to hold in the context of what the constitution guarantees.