Saturday, November 22, 2014

Insurance firm asked to pay compensation for deficiency

Vohra and Rs 54,000 after deducting 10 per cent of the Insured Declared Value for the motorcycle. 

In its order, the forum rejected the firm’s contention that Vohra had failed to take reasonable care of his bike. 

“We… Are of the opinion that there was no want of reasonable care on the part of the complainant in the present case,” the forum’s panel members said, adding that “repudiation of the claim by the firm was not justified.” 

While holding the firm deficient in rendering services, the forum asked it to pay Vohra Rs 54,000 after deducting 10 per cent of the IDV on account of depreciation, Rs 20,000 as compensation for pain and agony suffered by him and Rs 5,000 as the cost of litigation. 

Vohra had told the forum that his motorcycle, insured by the firm, was was stolen in June 2010. 

When he filed an insurance claim with the firm, it denied him the same saying he had failed to take reasonable care of the motorcycle, his complaint said.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

HC moved over Shahi Imam anointing son as deputy

The PIL (public interest litigation) filed by one Suhail Ahmed Khan said that Jama Masjid is a property of the Delhi Wakf Board and Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari (Shahi Imam) as its employee can’t appoint his son as Naib Imam.
Bukhari’s decision to anoint his 19-year-old son, Shaban Bukhari, as the Naib Imam or the “Deputy Imam”, is wrong as there is no provision under the Wakf Act for hereditary appointment of the Imam of a mosque, it said.

“Despite knowing that Imam is an employee of the Wakf Board and its the Board which has the right to appoint an Imam, he (Bukhari) has declared his 19-year-old son to be a Naib Imam and is holding a dastar bandi ceremony for the said purpose, which is purely anti-Islamic,” the plea said.

Jama Masjid is India’s largest mosque built during the Mughal era in the 17th century, facing the Red Fort.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw would hear the plea Wednesday.

It also asked the court to declare invalid the appointment of Bukhari as the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid.

The plea filed against the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Delhi government, Delhi Wakf Board (DWB), MCD, DDA, city police and Bukhari also alleged that there is “complete anarchy and misuse of power” by the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid.

Alleging illegal construction within the Masjid premises the plea sought a CBI probe into the accounts, affairs, misuse of premises of Jama Masjid and the area in the vicinity by the Shahi Imam.

It also sought directions for DWB to take over the affairs of Jama Masjid and appoint an Imam. The plea also asked the ASI and the government to declare Jama Masjid a protected monument. Bukhari had recently sparked off a controversy by announcing that he had invited Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the ceremony but did not feel the need to invite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sant Rampal - Followers bathed him in milk, then used it to make kheer-prasad

Followers said Rampal was bathed in milk which was later used to make kheer for prasad. This ritual, they claimed, was key to the “miracles” he performed.

“The kheer is made from milk which is poured on him… the kheer is given to us as prasad,” said Manoj, 45, a follower who had come for a satsang at the ashram.

Other followers differed. They said the kheer wasn’t made from milk that was poured on Rampal, but from milk that dripped on him from a pipe in the ceiling.

Bombay HC rejects CBI plea to drop Ashok Chavan's name as accused in Adarsh case

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

HC upholds dismissal of judge charged with corruption

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

MLA guilty of electricity theft on power reforms panel

The appointment of BJP MLA Suresh Halvankar, who had been convicted in a power theft case, as chairman of a committee on reforms in the power loom and textiles sector has raised eyebrows. 

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.

HC sets aside Hooda govt's quota policy in promotion

Scheduled caste (SC) employees of Haryana government, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday set aside the state government's reservation policy pertaining to promotion to Class III and IV posts.

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.

Bombay HC stays Maharashtra govt's decision to give 16% reservation to Marathas

The Bombay high court on Friday stayed Maharashtra government's decision to give 16 per cent reservation to Marathas in public service and educational institutions.

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

Centre likely to make Aadhaar card mandatory for early passport

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

Woman paraded naked on donkey, 30 arrested

Members of a community panchayat in a tribal area of Rajsamand district blackened a 45-year-old woman's face, stripped her and paraded her on a donkey's back on Saturday evening. The panchayat members accused the woman of killing her nephew and held a meeting in which the shocking punishment was meted out to her. 

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

Bombay high court refuses to give a surname to Laxmibai

A Pune resident recently approached the Bombay high court, protesting against the use of "Jhansiwali" at the end of Rani Laxmibai's name, etched on a statue in the heart of Pune; he sought to change it to "Newalkar", her supposed matrimonial surname.

But a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Ajay Gadkari refused to let the court be dragged into the controversy and rejected the plea. "We find that the petitioner wants this court to decide on the disputed question of what should be the surname of Maharani Lakshmibai, who died in 1858. In writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, this is not a fit case to go into the disputed questions of fact in relation to the issue of the correct surname of Rani Lakshmibai," said the court. "Writ jurisdiction is not a proper remedy to decide on the said issue. Therefore, we decline to entertain the petition. Other remedies, if any, available to the petitioner are kept open."

The petitioner Vivek Tambe, who claims to be a freelance journalist and an author of a book on Rani Laxmibai, said the Pune Municipal Corporation had mentioned the queen's surname on a statue as "Jhansiwali", which was wrong as after her marriage, it changed to "Newalkar". He further claimed though her adopted son, after the 1857 war, did change his surname to "Jhansiwali", there was no record of Rani Laxmibai ever using it. The municipal corporation said the statue was erected in 1957 and it did not have any records about the queen's surname.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Supreme Court junks HC order on caste-based census

The Supreme Court on Friday rescued the Centre from the prospect of carrying out a caste-based census an exercise that could have led to a controversial reworking of quotas for other backward classes (OBCs).

The HC had two years ago in a service matter ordered fresh caste-based census, more than 80 years after it was last conducted in 1931. The SC set aside that order, terming it "exceptionally cryptic" and a "colossal transgression of power of judicial review".

Given the potential for social strife in a caste-based census, the Centre had rushed to the SC challenging the HC order. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra, R F Nariman and U U Lalit upheld its contention and said the central census notification mandated collection of information only relating to SCs and STs and not other castes.

Appearing for the Centre, senior advocate R S Suri had argued that "policy stipulates for carrying out the census which includes SC and ST, but not other castes". He had said other HCs had dismissed similar petitions and that even the SC had declined to interfere in census modalities. As of now, the census quantifies the population of only SC and ST communities.

Justice Misra, writing the judgment for the bench, said, "In such a situation, it is extremely difficult to visualize that the high court, without having a 'lis' (subject matter) before it, could even have thought of issuing a command to the census department to take all such measures towards conducting caste-wise census in the country so that social justice in its true sense...could be achieved,"

This was clearly beyond the HC's jurisdiction, the SC ruled. "The HC had not only travelled beyond the list in the first round of litigation, but had really yielded to some kind of emotional perspective, possibly paving the adventurous path to innovate. It is legally impermissible," it said.

Act on complaint against TV show: Gujarat HC

Gujarat high court (HC) has directed the city police commissioner to ensure that the city police act upon the complaint filed by one Kaleem Siddiqui against a media house for showing "anti-Muslim programme" that hurt religious feelings.

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 makes SMS alerts for cheques mandatory

 Banks will now start sending SMS alerts to both payer and drawer in cheque transactions as soon as the instruments are received for clearing. Expressing concern over the rise in cheque-related fraud cases, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has made SMS alerts mandatory for such transactions.

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.