Saturday, January 24, 2015

Madras HC bars 'superman lawyer'

We follow a particular order even in the matter of wearing costumes. The only exception to this is comics book hero Superman. People who complete educational courses in the reverse order can only be compared to Superman, the Madras high court has said.

"No one would have ever imagined even in the wildest of dreams that people may acquire a postgraduate degree first, followed by an undergraduate degree, and thereafter complete the higher secondary course, eventually to go to a kindergarten," said Justice V Ramasubramanian on Friday, refusing to permit a law graduate to enrol and practice in courts, as he had completed his graduation course without clearing his Plus Two.

The matter relates to a petition filed by G Bappudurai, who failed in one subject in Plus Two in 1999. Without clearing Class 12, he joined a bachelor's degree course under Alagappa University's distance education programme. He obtained the BA degree in history in 2010. Thereafter, he appeared for the arrear paper in Plus Two in March 2010, and cleared it. He later joined three-year law degree in Tirunelveli Government Law College in 2010-11 and completed it in 2013. Though he had been issued a provisional certificate, Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University issued a show-cause notice to him after it came to know that he did not complete his schooling and foundation degree in the prescribed 10+2+3 format and order.

His counsel argued that Bappudurai fulfilled the eligibility criteria in 2010-11 for joining the three-year law degree course and that the university could not question it after having issued the provisional certificate.

Rejecting the argument, Justice Ramasubramanian said, "When the expression "degree" was defined in the statutes, the law makers never imagined the kind of inventions that could happen in the field of education, entitling people to acquire all qualifications in the reverse or perverse order. At the time when the expression "degree" was defined in the statute, people would have honestly believed that a student would undertake a journey from the first standard up to the school final in a sequence and thereafter undergo the entire duration of the degree course."

Pointing out that the petitioner had not obtained his school and college certificates in normal sequence, the judge said he had not fulfilled the requirement of Rule 5 of the Rules of Legal Education, 2008, and hence he is not entitled to use the degree for enrolment as an advocate.

However, as a consolation, Justice Ramasubramanian made it clear that his degree would not go waste, and said: "Since he has already undergone the course and passed it, and also since he has also passed the higher secondary course, I do not wish to make that degree a waste paper. If a private employer is prepared to give employment to him on the basis of the law degree, I do not wish to stand in the way. But, it will not entitle him to get enrolled as an advocate."

Ahmedabad HC asks 16 schools to reserve seats for poor

Gujarat high court on Friday directed 16 top private schools of the city, which were selected as model schools to implement RTE Act, to keep 25% seats vacant in the primary section for students belonging to economically weaker sections.

These 16 private schools were selected as model schools to implement the Right to Education (RTE) law by admitting 25% of total students, from the poor strata of society. However, Jagega Gujarat Sangharsh Samiti, an NGO, claimed that these schools did not grant admission to poor students and filed a PIL demanding proper implementation of the RTE law.

These schools cited various reasons for not filling up the quota. The reasons cited by them were receiving fewer applications, not fulfilling the criteria, the minority status, etc. However, the court has decided to evaluate all contentions at the final stage of hearing and asked the schools and the petitioner NGO to submit their suggestions for implementation of the law to the state government, said petitioner's counsel Parul Joshi.

Earlier, it was discussed that the state government's allocation of Rs 10,000 towards fees for each student is not enough so far as admission in these premier schools is concerned, because these schools charge fees in lakhs.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

SC puts curbs on adjournments to ensure fairer and faster trials

In a step that would ensure free and speedy trial, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered courts not to grant any adjournment during the most crucial phase of trial, which is between deposition of witness and his cross-examination by the counsel for accused. 

The court took strong exception to long gaps between deposition of a witness and his cross-examination and said adjournments at this crucial juncture provided the accused ample opportunity to win over witnesses and reduce the trial to a mere apology. 

"It is distressing to note that despite a series of judgments of the Supreme Court, the habit of granting adjournment, really an ailment, continues," a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R F Nariman said and commanded trial courts not to adjourn proceedings between deposition and cross-examination of a witness. 

This means, from now onwards, a trial court has to hold the trial proceedings continuously on a day to day basis once the witness starts deposition till his cross-examination is over. This would go a long way in expediting the trial proceedings, which are notorious for their snail pace in a litigation-congested judiciary. 

The court gave vent to its anguish after finding that in a trap case under Prevention of Corruption Act, a trial court in Punjab had granted many adjournments resulting in a gap of 20 months between deposition of the witness and his cross-examination. Little wonder that the witness went back on his statement. 

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Misra said, "How long shall we say 'awake and arise'? There is a constant discomfort... Adjournments are sought on the drop of a hat by the counsel, even though the witness is present in the court, contrary to all principles of holding a trial." 

It ordered that this judgment, banning adjournment in the crucial phase of trial, be circulated among trial judges "with a command to follow the principles relating to a trial in a requisite manner and not to defer the cross-examination of a witness at the pleasure or at the leisure of the defence counsel, for it eventually makes the trial an apology for trial and compels the whole society to suffer chicanery". 

The judgment came in a case where a public servant was caught red-handed while accepting bribe from a tractor-trolley owner for allowing it to enter the municipal area of Rajpura in January 1995. The witness recorded his statement before the trial court on September 13, 1999 but his cross-examination took place 20 months later on May 25, 2001. 

The complainant-cum-witness made a U-turn. But one independent witness stood by the prosecution, leading to the trial court recording conviction. The HC too saw through the delaying tactics by the accused in cross-examining the witness and confirmed the conviction of the public servant and a sentence of two years. 

The SC upheld the conviction and sentence, but frowned at the long adjournment of proceedings between deposition of the witness and his cross-examination. "We fail to appreciate how the trial judge could exhibit such laxity in granting so much time for cross-examination in a case of this nature," it said and advised that the proper course for a trial judge was to complete cross-examination on the day witnesses are examined. 

Facebook page - adverse comments aginst Govt. officer were not a crime under the law

The Supreme Court has yet again come to the rescue of common people who give vent to their anguish against official apathy on social networking sites as it said such adverse comments were not a crime under the law. 

Saving a Bengaluru-based couple from criminal prosecution for posting adverse comments against the police on the Bangalore Police Facebook page, the court ruled that it was a public forum and a commoner had every right to give vent to his feelings. 

The court quashed criminal proceedings against the couple which had accused a police officer of misbehaviour. Upset at the Facebook comment, the police officer lodged an FIR against the couple for offences of criminal intimidation and assault aimed at preventing him from discharging his duty. 

Unimpressed by the police's argument justifying filing of the case, a bench of Justices V Gopala Gowda and R Banumathi said mere expression of any word without any intention to cause alarm would not be sufficient to slap charges of criminal intimidation. It said there was also no intention on the part of the couple to obstruct the officer from discharging his duty. 

"As far as the comments posted on Facebook are concerned, it appears that it is a public forum meant for helping the public and the act of appellants posting a comment on Facebook may not attract ingredients of criminal intimidation in Section 503 IPC," the court said. 

The couple contended that the Facebook page of Bengaluru traffic police was a public forum meant for citizens to discuss and post their grievances and it could not be prosecuted for posting comments against the officer for his misbehavior. 

"As noted earlier, the page created by the traffic police on Facebook was a forum for the public to put forth their grievances. In our considered view, the appellants might have posted the comment online under the bona fide belief that it was within the permissible limits. As discussed earlier, even going by the uncontroverted allegations in the FIR, in our view, none of the ingredients of the alleged offences are satisfied," it said. 

Accepting the couple's submission, the bench quashed the FIR filed against them. 

"We are of the view that in the facts and circumstances of the case, it would be unjust to allow the process of the court to be continued against the appellants and consequently the order of the high court is liable to be set aside," the court said. 

The couple, Manik Taneja and wife Sakshi Jawa, met with an accident in June last year when their car collided with an auto. They were taken to police station where an officer allegedly misbehaved and threatened them. 

Aggrieved at the manner in which they were treated, the couple posted comments on the Bangalore traffic police's Facebook page, accusing the officer of misbehaviour. The officer lodged a complaint. The couple then approached the Karnataka High Court which refused to quash the FIR.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Passwords That You Should Avoid


When one was new to the Internet back in the days of a dial up connection, it was not too uncommon to have just a single e-mail account, and back then, remembering your password was a whole lot easier than today. Today, we have multiple accounts and passwords to remember, ranging from electronic banking to social networks, emails, and other kinds of online services. Using the same password across all services is also dangerous, making your mind all the more muddled. This has led to some very lazy password usage, and for the year 2014, some of the most commonly used passwords remained the same, although new additions have been made, which you can check out after the jump.
All of the top 25 passwords of 2014 are listed as follows, with their movement in the ranking being bracketed.
1. 123456 (Unchanged from 2013)
2. password (Unchanged)
3. 12345 (Up 17)
4. 12345678 (Down 1)
5. qwerty (Down 1)
6. 234567890 (Unchanged)
7. 1234 (Up 9)
8. baseball (New)
9. dragon (New)
10. football (New)
11. 1234567 (Down 4)
12. monkey (Up 5)
13. letmein (Up 1)
14. abc123 (Down 9)
15. 111111 (Down 8)
16. mustang (New)
17. access (New)
18. shadow (Unchanged)
19. master (New)
20. michael (New)
21. superman (New)
22. 696969 (New)
23. 123123 (Down 12)
24. batman (New)
25. trustno1 (Down 1)
Are you guilty of any of the passwords above?

WhatsApp Banning Users Who Use Third-Party Clients

One of the great things about using Android is the customizability. The platform itself is highly customizable and there are apps and tools that allows further customization to turn the phone into a device that is uniquely yours. Unfortunately this customization is not looked upon well by some developers, and WhatsApp is one of them.
whatsapp ban
The developers of WhatsApp haverecently started to issue bans on users who have been using third-party WhatsApp clients, such as WhatsApp Plus. For those unfamiliar, WhatsApp Plus is a third-party WhatsApp client that allow users to customize their WhatsApp to their liking, such as modifying the shape of the chat bubbles, color options, and so on.
Users who have been found to be using the third-party client have been banned from the service for 24 hours and are asked to download the original WhatsApp client if they don’t want to be banned again. According toWhatsApp’s FAQ, “Please be aware that WhatsApp Plus contains source code which WhatsApp cannot guarantee as safe and that your private information is potentially being passed to 3rd parties without your knowledge or authorization.”
According to Dr. Mounib Al Rifai of the official WhatsApp Plus community, he wrote that the developers are working on a way to find a fix for the issue, although we’re not sure what kind of “fix” that would be as this is basically WhatsApp rejecting third-party clients outright, but either way if you want to avoid a ban, then you might want to think about deleting the client.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bank can’t recover EMI on undisbursed loan - Dispute Redressal Forum

Rejecting an argument by SBI that it was not at fault in recovering monthly instalments on “disbursed” housing loan, the Dispute Redressal Forum here has asked the bank to refund the entire EMI charged unduly for 20 months from a policeman and directed it to pay him Rs 50,000 as compensation for deficient services.

In their order, issued last week Dispute Redressal Forumand members Madhuri Vishwarupe and ND Kadam directed the bank to make the payment to complainant Rajendra Sadashiv Pardesi, within the next 40 days or else pay interest on the sum at 6 percent per annum. Till its realisation.

The new panel has adopted an innovative system by which it directs both the complainant and the respondent to file an affidavit before a specified date as regards the compliance of the Forum order which tracks the pendency in the compliance which was not happening earlier.

In his complaint, the policeman told the Forum that the bank had sanctioned him a housing loan and issued a cheque for Rs 5,61,000 on July 23, 2007 which he handed over to ACP (Police Welfare) on July 25, 2007.

After the issue of the cheque, the bank began recovering the EMI amount of Rs 7,672 from September 01, 2007 till March 2009 after which he was informed by the Police Welfare Authority that the loan amount was not received.

On enquiry, the complainant came to know that the cheque of Rs 5,61,000 handed over by him to the Police Welfare Authority, was not presented for collection till 31/3/2009 and hence, on request of the complainant a fresh cheque was issued to him in April, 2009, the Forum was informed.

Even though the loan amount was not actually disbursed to the complainant till March 2009, the recovery of the housing loan principal and interest at the rate of 10 percent was made by the bank.

This was in breach of the loan agreement condition that interest is to be charged on the outstanding amount of the disbursed housing loan. Since the loan was not actually paid to the complainant, the recovery of principal amount and interest was not proper.

Hence the complainant filed a complaint claiming refund of principal amount, interest recovered, compensation and cost of the complaint, aggregating to Rs 2,28000.

In their order, the Forum said it was the duty of the complainant’s welfare authority to deposit the said cheque for collection, which they appear to have not done.

Also, the Forum said that a letter from the bank in October 2009 relating to information of housing loan of the complainant, clearly states that the “bank is charging interest on outstanding amount, on the disbursed portion of loan on daily reducing balance.”

On careful consideration of this interest charging clause, it makes amply clear that interest is admittedly to be charged and recovered on the disbursed loan amount only. The plain dictionary meaning of disbursement is pay out money. In this case, even if the loan cheque was handed over to the complainant, same was not presented for collection, the Forum said.

The order further said, “In this regard it is to be mentioned that the opponent has not brought any kind of evidence on record regarding the recovery of loan amount. Besides, they have also not brought on record, whether the interest charged and recovered from 01/9/2007 to 31/03/2009, was adjusted subsequently, after encashment of the fresh loan cheque issued in March, 2009.

Further, they have also failed to confirm whether the recovery of the principal loan amount of Rs 5,61,000 was started afresh from 1/4/2009 i.e. After encashment of fresh cheque or balance loan as at 31/3/2009 was continued further.

In absence of these vital details, the Forum is compelled to consider the loan recovery documents produced by the complainant with reference to their prayer as such, since, the opposite party has failed to file up-to-date evidence of loan recovery.”
It further said that the contention of the opposite party to the effect that the complainant negligently failed to confirm in time, whether loan cheque collected by him was actually debited to his loan account, though, prima facie looks sound, but it is the opponent who neglected to confirm for 20 months, whether its cheque liability was fulfilled.

Instead of reconciling their accounts of cheques issued but not presented for payment, they preferred starting recovery without payment. This act of the opposite party is undoubtedly deficient, the Forum added, while awarding the compensation to Pardesi.

Government bans phones with fake, duplicate IMEI numbers

Government has prohibited imports of all kind of mobile handsets with fake or duplicate unique identity numbers, a move that will help security agencies in tracking callers using different sim cards.

"GSM mobile handsets with duplicate IMEI or fake IMEI & 'CDMA mobile handsets' with duplicate ESN (Electronic Serial Number)/MEID (Mobile Equipment Identifier) or fake ESN/MEID are added to the list of 'Prohibited' items for import," director general of foreign trade said in a notification.

An IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number a 15-17 digit number unique to mobile phones that use the global system for mobile communications (GSM) technology platform is used to identify a device on a cellphone network.

The unique number helps in tracking mobile phones. The move aims to check proliferation of mobile handsets with duplicate or cloned IMEI numbers, which are dangerous for national security. While there is already an order in place which bans import of mobile phones with fake, without or with '00..00' IMEI numbers, the new order places bans on duplicate handsets as well.

"We welcome any crackdown in fake IMEI or grey market. The implementation of this notification on ground will have to be handled with great care so that ease of business is not hampered while curbing grey market," Indian Cellular Association national president Pankaj Mohindroo said.

Mobile phones without the unique security code are making inroads into the grey market by cloning the IMEI numbers of genuine sets. Duplicates phone have further added to woes of customers, companies as well as security agencies.

Singer's daughter jailed in UK for sex with minor

The daughter of noted UK-based Punjabi singer Malkit Singh MBE of "Gur Nalon Ishq Mita" fame has been sentenced to two years' imprisonment for having sexual relations with her pupil, a minor with learning problems.

Amardip Bhopari, 28, who began teaching at a school for children with learning difficulties in 2012, had confessed to the charges and was arrested in December 2013. She was sentenced on Friday. Her father has remained incommunicado ever since news of the case spread.

According to reports, Amardip's relationship with the 16-year-old boy, who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia, started just before Valentine's Day in 2013. The British media reported that her sexual encounters took place in the school art room, her car and even at an industrial estate near the school. She used to shower gifts on him and invite him home.

When the boy started dating a girl his own age and told Amardip that he wanted to end their relationship, she tried to dissuade him.

Amardip's advocate told the court that she had deep remorse. Judge James Burbidge ordered that she be put on the sexual offenders' register for 10 years.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Nip religious intolerance in the bud: Delhi High Court

Growing instances of religious “intolerance” have to be “nipped in the bud” as the country can “ill-afford” that they spread like “wild fire”, Delhi High Court has observed.
Dismissing a PIL against Aamir Khan’s block buster ‘PK’, a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said “the present petition is an instance of a growing tendency in the country of intolerance and which tendency has to be nipped in the bud and unless done so, is likely to spread like wild fire and which the country can ill-afford.”
The bench also observed that just as the Constitution protected the right of an artist to portray social reality in all its forms, seeing a film was a conscious choice of the spectator and those offended by the content or the theme of a particular film were free to avoid watching it.
The High Court said the film, which broke the box office records with over Rs 600 crore global business, illustrated the social evil prevalent and cannot be considered as contemptuous of the essential tenets and beliefs of Hindu religion or as promoting communal attitude.
“We are unable to hold the film or any sequence thereof being contemptuous of the essential tenets and beliefs of Hindu religion or as promoting communal attitude. The said sequences have to be necessarily shown to illustrate the social evil prevalent,” it further said in a recent order.
The bench dismissed the PIL seeking directions to delete “objectionable” scenes from ‘PK’ claiming that the contents of the film have hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.
“The petitioner is assuming that the faith and belief of persons in their religion, whether it be Hindu or any other, is so frail as to be shaken or be scandalized by the depictions in the film to which objection is taken. The said assumption in our view is totally mistaken.
“The sequences of the film to which objection is taken are in the nature of a satire bordering on parody on certain Hindu customs and practices. The said sequences in the film can thus also be seen as socially beneficial, helping a better understanding of the religion,” the court said.

Lawyers do not need to please judges

A lawyer “should not agree” with a judge if he has a point to propose which is supported by “precedent or authority”, a Supreme Court judge said today even as he averred that there was no need to please judges.
Speaking at the award ceremony of the 11th K K Luthra Memorial Moot Court Competition here, Justice Dipak Misra also said that a lawyer can disagree with a judge if he has a valid point.
“You may not immediately disagree with a judge but there is a way to disagree with a judge. And a lawyer in all fairness, if he has a point to propose, and the point is supported by precedent or authority… He should not agree.
“There is no need to please judges,” Justice Misra, who was the chief guest at the programme, told law students.
He said that the language used in a court of law has to be “sober and have etiquette” and “this does not mean trying to please any kind of judge”.
“A judge who intends to be pleased, in fact, I have no hesitation in stating, possibly doesn’t have all the qualities for being a judge,” he added.
Stressing on the politeness of language and expression on the part of a lawyer, Justice Misra suggested that employing court craft and showing respect are different from pleasing a judge.
He said the point should be made politely, respectfully and put in a manner that attracts the attention of the judge.
Asking the budding advocates to follow the law of the land, he said that nowadays, certain people, instead of following the law, love to violate it.
“As a lawyer, you really have to try to stand for the law of the land in times to come,” he said.
National Institute of Juridical Sciences from West Bengal won this year’s moot court competition with Delhi University’s Campus Law Centre coming second.
The final round held at the India Habitat Centre here was judged by Justice Sanjay Karol of Himachal Pradesh High Court, Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of Delhi High Court.

Remove all illegal shrines, says Bombay high court

Coming down heavily on the Maharashtra government for not implementing its resolution to demolish shrines built without following the law, the Bombay high court on Friday directed the state to demolish all illegal shrines in its jurisdiction.

Affidavits filed by the Urban Development Department (UDD) and the BMC in the high court on Friday said that there are 17,614 illegal shrines in the state. Mumbai alone houses 761 of those. According to BMC, out of 761 it has removed 17 illegal shrines over and above the 63 that were earlier demolished. It also said that demolition of these shrines is a sensitive issue and requires adequate police protection.

The affidavit filed by UDD stated that out of 17,614 unauthorised religious structures 258 have been regularised, 370 were removed, 37 were relocated to some other place and the proposal for 33 religious structures constructed before May 1, 1960 submitted before the state-level committee is pending. “The state government has put in place comprehensive policy guidelines vide Government Resolution (GR) dated May 5, 2011 regarding regularising, removal and relocation of unauthorised religious structures and the government is regularly monitoring the progress in letter and spirit,” the affidavit further stated.

The division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon asked the Maharashtra government to ensure that all such illegal shrines are demolished in accordance with a Government

Resolution of 2011 and also to provide adequate police protection to the demolition squad, so that no law and order situation is created.

The bench also asked the secretary of UDD and BMC to file separate affidavits by February 28, stating what action they had taken against the illegal shrines in the state and posted the hearing of the petition, filed by activist Bhagwanji Raiyani, to March 2.

The petition alleged that around 17,000 illegal shrines had come up all over the state either in the middle of roads or on footpaths, obstructing movement of vehicles as well as pedestrians.

The petition said that illegal shrines should be demolished as soon as possible and if action was not taken against them, the number of such illegal shrines would grow. The petition was filed a few years ago and the court had passed orders from time to time regarding demolition of illegal shrines.

Central government preps bill to rename Bombay, Madras High Courts

Two of the three iconic high courts of India – the Bombay High Court and the Madras High Court – are slated for renaming as the central government is preparing a bill to initiate the process of renaming the two high courts through an Act of Parliament.

According to sources familiar with the matter, the Law Ministry has already initiated the process of forming a bill to rename Bombay and Madras high courts to correspond to the present names of the cities.

The move comes as a part of complying with demands to rename the high courts as Mumbai High Court and Chennai High Court after the metros were rechristened in the 1990s. State governments and various organisations have been pressing for a name change for quite a few years now.

The ‘Indian High Court Act’ of 1861, vested in the Queen of England to issue letters patent to establish high courts of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. The Bombay High Court was inaugurated on August 14, 1862. The Madras High Court also came into being around the same time.

The Bombay high court today has three benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad and Goa. Bombay HC is one of a few institutions in Maharashtra that continue to carry the old name of the city.

The state government renamed Bombay as Mumbai in 1995 and all institutions under it altered names accordingly; however, because matters related to courts are within control of central government, the name of the high court still remains unchanged.

There have also been demands to rename the Calcutta High Court as Kolkata High Court. The Calcutta High Court has the distinction of being the first high court and one of the three chartered high courts to be set up in India, along with the high courts of Bombay, Madras. It was formally opened on July 1, 1862.

Friday, January 16, 2015

1-year jail term for Union minister Naqvi; gets bail

A Rampur (UP) court on Wednesday sentenced Union minister of state for minority welfare and parliamentary affairs Muqtar Abbas Naqvi to one year in jail for breaching prohibitory orders during campaigning for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. Naqvi was then contesting for the Rampur seat on a BJP ticket, a fight that he lost to the Samajwadi Party's Jaya Pradha, even losing his security deposit in the process.

The court of additional civil judge (senior division) Manish Kumar sentenced Naqvi, along with his 19 supporters, and imposed a fine of Rs 4,000 under sections 143 (rioting), 341 and 342 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC. The court later granted bail to Naqvi, now a Rajya Sabha member, and the others convicted on sureties of Rs 15,000 each.

The case relates to an instance of disturbing the peace during 2009 general elections. Sub-inspector Ram Kishan of the Patwai police station had, on April 24 that year, registered an FIR against Naqvi and the others, including a woman BJP leader, Dolly Randhawa, under charges of rioting.

SC stays trial of sexual assault case against Tarun Tejpal

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed for three weeks the trial in a sexual assault case against Tehelka founder editor Tarun Tejpal as he opposed proceeding in the case without providing him the necessary documents.

A bench led by Chief Justice H L Dattu asked the trial judge to make sure that prosecution supplies all the relevant documents to Tejpal within three weeks. It also asked Tejpal to refrain from delaying the trial on any ground in future.

The petition, filed by advocate Sandeep Kapur, had contended that the session court while passing the December 23, 2014, order was conscious of the "recklessness" shown by the prosecution to uphold statutory requirements that are obligatory to provide all necessary documents.

It also claimed that the prosecution had deviated from procedure and failed to appreciate that speedy trial was barely a facet of fair trial. The petition alleged that the court has not reprimanded the prosecution for its "deliberate non-compliance, for deviating from the statutory mandates" to the detriment of the petitioner and his right to fair trial.

"That the petitioner has established a good prima facie case on merits and the balance of convenience tilts overwhelmingly in favour of the petitioner. The impugned orders have been passed by the trial court without consideration of the cardinal principle of law. Therefore, it is just, proper and expedient that the interim relief as prayed for may kindly be granted in favour of the petitioner. Grave and irreparable harm and injury would be caused to the petitioner, in case interim orders as prayed for, are not granted," the plea said.

The Tehelka chief has sought stay of the operation of the December 23 order of last year passed by Additional Sessions Judge, Mapusa, Goa who will go ahead with arguments on framing of charges. Tejpal has been chargesheeted for allegedly raping, sexually harassing and outraging the modesty of a junior colleague during an event at a Goa hotel in November last year.

He was arrested on November 30, 2013 and is presently out on interim bail. He has been accused of sexually assaulting the victim on November 7 and repeating the offence the next day. Before being released on interim bail, he was lodged at Sada sub-jail in Goa's Vasco town.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Keep pigs, pork out of textbooks: OUP to writers

Oxford University Press (OUP) has asked its textbook writers to keep out all references to pigs, pork, sausages and other pork-related items to avoid offending Jews and Muslims.

The letter came to light after presenter Jim Naughtie of Radio 4's Today programme whose wife Eleanor Updale, a writer, is in talks with OUP for an educational book series said, "I've got a letter here that was sent out by OUP to an author doing something for young people. Pigs plus sausages, or anything else which could be perceived as pork has been prohibited in the text that was commissioned by OUP."

Refusing to comment beyond the official statement, OUP said, "OUP's commitment to its mission of academic and educational excellence is absolute. Our materials are sold in nearly 200 countries, and as such, and without compromising our commitment in any way, we encourage some authors of educational materials respectfully to consider cultural differences and sensitivities. Guidelines for our educational materials differ between geographies and do not cover our academic publishing."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CAT rejects Ishrat encounter investigator's plea against transfer

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), New Delhi, on Monday turned down the petition of IPS officer Satish Verma against his posting on deputation as chief vigilance officer (CVO) to North-Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO) in Shillong.

However, the CAT bench of justices Syed Rafat Alam and BK Sinha granted some relief to IPS Rajnish Rai who has been posted as CVO in Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), Jaguguda in Jharkhand. The bench directed the Gujarat government and the central government to consider his request to post him in Delhi or Mumbai or at a place where his wife, IAS officer Vatsala Vasudev, can also be posted as joint secretary. The bench gave Gujarat government three months to consider Rai's request for another posting.

However, the bench severely criticized Verma for seeking transfer but objecting when posted in the north-eastern state. In its order, the bench said IAS and IPS officers were often required to forgo many things for the sake of duty. What would become of the administration if officers placed their self-interest above the call of duty, the bench asked.

Rai was denied govt nod to join IIM as professor

"Here, it is only a question of serving in Shillong instead of Delhi or Mumbai," the CAT bench said while rejecting Verma's plea against his current posting.

In its order on Rai's petition, the CAT bench said that the petitioner deserves judicial relief. But as he has already joined at his current place of posting, the Gujarat government and the central government should consider his request expeditiously, preferably within three months.

Both the officers - IGP Verma and DIG Rai were posted as CVOs of different public sector units last year in Meghalaya and Jharkhand, respectively. They had challenged their postings before CAT at New Delhi by claiming that the Gujarat government's intention was mala fide because of their aggressive investigation of fake encounter cases.

Rai's investigation of the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case and Verma's investigation of the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case had led to the arrest of several police officers, most of whom were from Gujarat. The downgrading of their ACRs was also cited as victimization but CAT did not accept this as mala fide.

Centre not serious about child rights, SC says

Expressing deep concern over the failure of government to put in place a proper mechanism to trace missing children, the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought assistance of premier institutes FMS of Delhi University and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbaito find thousands of children who go missing every year.

The court also asked National Police Academy (NPA), Hyderabad to evolve a training module for police officers who handle such cases to sensitize them towards child rights.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit slammed the Centre for not appointing chairperson and other members to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) saying that government is not bothered about child rights. The court directed it to take a decision for appointments to the commission which is a statutory body.

"No chairman has been appointed for the commission. I checked the website and not a single person has been appointed in the commission. It is a statutory body and you cannot say that you don't appoint anybody in the commission," the bench said.

"The government is doing nothing, leaving this court handicapped to proceed further in the case," it said.

It directed secretary, ministry of women & child development, to coordinate with his state counterparts in evolving a mechanism for tracking missing children. The secretary is to function as a nodal officer who will coordinate with all the states and direct them to track missing children.

The court asked the government to file an affidavit on appointment in NCPCR by February 12 when the matter would be taken up for further hearing.

It asked the director of DU's Faculty of Mangement Studies, to appoint a competent faculty to study government website and suggest ways by which it can be made effective in tracking missing children.

The court asked TISS director to set up a group which will study standard operating procedure (SOP) followed by different states and also the procedure suggested by NALSA. The court asked the institute to frame comprehensive guidelines which will be uniformly followed by all states.

It said that officials including police personnel need to be given proper training to prevent cases of missing children and to trace and rehabilitate them. The court said that the issue of child trafficking is linked with missing children and that aspect has to be considered by the government.

"We request director, NPA, to consult police authorities across the country and come out with module training that should be given to officials handling such cases," it said.

Madras HC refuses to order removal of Jayalalithaa's portraits from govt offices

Portraits of unseated chief minister J Jayalalithaa will continue to adorn government offices and departments in Tamil Nadu, as the Madras high court on Tuesday refused to order their removal.

"We are not inclined to direct the authorities to display the portrait of the current chief minister alone and remove the one of erstwhile chief minister," said a division bench.

The matter relates to a PIL filed by advocate S Karunanidhi of Madurai, highlighting the fact that even after her conviction in a corruption case and removal from the office of chief minister, Jayalalithaa's portraits continued to adorn the walls of government offices, whereas the incumbent chief minister O Paneerselvam's pictures were not to be seen anywhere.

Pointing out that the state had rules to hang the portrait of any leader from the list of 12 personalities, the PIL-petitioner said the usual practice is to display the incumbent chief minister's portrait and remove former chief minister's portrait from government offices.

A bench of Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice V M Velumani dismissed the PIL saying, "Since the government has taken a policy matter as to portraits of which leaders and personalities to be displayed in government offices, which, in our opinion, is well within the domain of the government to take a decision, and particularly that of the past and present chief ministers, we see no reason to countenance the prayer of the petitioner...It is only for the government to take a decision as to the display of portraits of leaders and personalities, not for this court to direct the authorities to display portraits of only particular persons and remove others."

Petitioner's counsel Peter Ramesh Kumar told the court that by not removing a former chief minister's photo from government offices, the policy of the government had been violated.

Advocate-general A L Somayaji, however, said that there could not be any direction to the government on policy matters and the policy decision to display the portraits of national leaders and important personalities as to who should be and who should not be is within the domain of the government.

The decision on the portraits of eminent personalities was taken on June 4, 2006, he said, adding that the PIL was not at all maintainable.

However, while dismissing PIL, the bench asked the government to formulate a definite policy on displaying portraits of leaders and personalities so as to be followed uniformly to avoid any difficulties with government offices.

"The government may act in a manner as in the past, and there shall be uniformity in maintaining such a principled policy to have the portraits in government offices," the judges said.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ahmedabad man lodges FIR against his WhatsApp group for obscene messages

 Unlimited forwards, photographs that just eat away a sizeable portion of your internet usage and the issue of privacy invasion. Tired of such a group a youth in Surat city of Gujarat lodged a police complaint against five members of his WhatsApp group for posting obscene messages and photographs.

The youth Jayesh Sanghani from Adajan area in Surat lodge a complaint with the cyber cell of the Surat crime branch against five individuals who have been posting him obscene messages. Sanghani had tried to exit the group several times , but the group admin would add him back and post the same on end messages. Tired of this Sanghani lodged a criminal FIR against five phone numbers on the group list.

Umang Police Show 2015 - Rape accused singer Ankit Tiwari performs amidst controversy

Galliyan‘ playback singer Ankit Tiwari, who was arrested on rape charges, was seen performing at an annual Mumbai Police event in suburban Andheri west on January 11. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and a number of policemen, including Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, last night attended ‘Umang 2015′ where a galaxy of Bollywood stars perform for men and women in uniform. Fadnavis, however, had left the venue by the time Tiwari arrived on the stage.
Tiwari, along with his co-performer, sung a number from soon-to-be released horror flick ‘Alone’ for the audience at the Andheri Sports Complex. Asked about Tiwari’s participation in the event, an IPS officer said it would be checked as to who invited Tiwari. ”We usually avoid performance (in the programme) by a person facing criminal charges. We will check who invited Ankit.

Ensure NRIs can e-vote within 8 weeks - SC to Centre

The Supreme Court has directed the central government to enable e-voting by NRIs within eight weeks. 

Hearing a plea filed by Pravasi Bharat chairman Nagender Chindam, the SC bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said that the NRIs must be allowed to e-vote within 8 weeks of elections. 

A committee comprising officials from the EC, law ministry and the ministry of external affairs had taken the opinions from all sections before submitting a report to the apex court last year. 

Any move to allow NRIs to use proxy voting on the lines of defence personnel and e-ballot facility will require changes in the law. 

Under the proposal, NRIs will be sent ballot papers electronically and they will have to return it to poll authorities physically. 

Chief election commissioner VS Sampath had said recently that the MEA was opposed to the idea of allowing NRIs to vote at embassies as it will be difficult to allow such an exercise because, in some countries, the NRI population could be equal to the local populace and it will be difficult to hold such an exercise at the embassy.

The 50-page report was prepared by a 12-member committee led by Vinod Zutshi, deputy election commissioner, for 'exploring feasibility of alternative options for voting by overseas electors'. 

The report is the result of a public interest litigation filed in the Supreme Court against the "inherent inequality" created by Section 20(A) of the Representation of the People (RP) Act which insists on the physical presence of an NRI in his local constituency at the time of voting. 

According to EC website, after enrolment, an overseas elector will be able to cast his or her vote in an election in the constituency, in person, at the polling station provided for the part where he is registered as an overseas elector. 

According to the provisions of the RP Act, a person who is a citizen of India and who has not acquired the citizenship of any other country and is otherwise eligible to be registered as a voter and who is absent from his place of ordinary residence in India owing to employment, education or otherwise is eligible to be registered as a voter in the constituency in which his place of residence in India, as mentioned in his passport, is located.