Saturday, April 18, 2015

Alcohol-induced liver disease on rise in dry Gujarat

Ironically, close to 1,000 cases of liver cirrhosis are reported every month in dry Gujarat. Nearly 80% of these cases reported in various government and private hospitals of Ahmedabad are related to alcohol.

Civil Hospital, the biggest referral centre in western India, reports the highest number of 270 patients of liver cirrhosis a month. This is followed by V S Hospital 230, Shardaben Hospital 200 and LG Hospital 180.

Leading private hospitals near Doordarshan Kendra, Sola, Gurukul and Gandhinagar also see around 80 liver cirrhosis patients every month.

Cirrhosis is a slowly progressing disease where healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, which can lead to organ failure.

No rape where accused and victim happily married

The Punjab and Haryana high court has held that where allegations of rape emerged during the subsistence of love affairs between a couple, who subsequently ties the nuptial knot, compromise in the such cases could be allowed for quashing the FIR against the accused man.

HC passed these orders recently while allowing the petition of a boy who was charged of rape by the girl under pressure from her family members. Later, the girl had married the boy. "We are of the view that ultimate trial of such case would result in vacuum and continuance of criminal proceedings would have adverse effect on the matrimonial relation of the couple," observed Justice Raj Mohan Singh while quashing the FIR in the rape case.

The couple (names withheld to secure their privacy) from Sunam town in Sangrur district was in love with each other and had runaway from their home. However, they were traced and a case against the boy was registered for rape by the family members of the girl on September 25, 2014.

Later, the family of the girl accepted their relation and the couple got married with the consent of both families in a gurdwara on September 28, 2014. The marriage was also registered under the Punjab Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2012.

Friday, April 17, 2015

HC no to rape survivor’s abortion plea

Gujarat high court on Thursday refused to permit a 24-year-old gang rape survivor to terminate her 28-week pregnancy citing that law does not permit abortion beyond 20 weeks' pregnancy. The court, however, directed the collector to ensure that woman is provided all care towards a safe delivery and the child is not abandoned. 

The married woman had moved court recently saying she became pregnant after abduction and illegal detention for over six months. When she managed to escape after months of torture, she was already many months into pregnancy. This led to delay in her moving court for permission for abortion. The woman is a native of Botad district and lives with her husband and two kids in Surat. 

Turning down the plea, justice JB Pardiwala said, "She will have to bravely go ahead with the pregnancy and when time comes, she should deliver the child. I am conscious of the fact that it is easy for a judge to say so in his judgment because it is ultimately the applicant (rape survivor) who will have to face the hard days ahead, but howsoever harsh one may find the law, yet it remains the law and one has to respect it. She must understand that termination at this stage will put her own life in peril."

SC stays proceedings against Arvind Kejriwal in two defamation cases

The Supreme court on Friday stayed proceedings against Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in two defamation cases, one filed by BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and the other by a lawyer.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice PC Pant has also agreed to hear Kejriwal's plea for decriminalizing defamation law.

Facing repeated court appearances in various criminal defamation cases filed against him, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had moved the apex court for stay on proceedings.

The Aam Aadmi Party leader in his petition also challenged constitutional validity of Section 499 and 500 of IPC making defamation an offence punishable by up to a two-year jail term.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

2 booked for using digital devices in exam for posts

The invigilators of a government exam caught two candidates — a woman and a man — for using digital devices for cheating. A complaint has been registered with Gujarat University (GU) police in this connection. Police have seized two mobile phones and a smart watch from the duo. 

According to police, Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Ltd (UGVCL) had organized an examination for the posts of Vij Sahayak (electricity technician) on Sunday on GU premises from 11am to 12.30pm. During the period, supervisors observed a youth using a mobile phone for clicking pictures of the question paper and sending it through a messaging service, probably to get right answers. Officials also seized another phone from the candidate who had come from Sabarkantha for the exam. 

A woman from Mehsana was also caught for cheating in perhaps first of its kind case where she was found using a smart watch. "The supervisors first did not pay attention as the candidates were asked to keep the mobile phones outside the classroom. However, when the examinee was seen operating the watch more than twice, they got suspicious and realized that it was internet-enabled smart watch. Both mobile phones and the watch have been seized as evidences," said a GU police official.

Couple living together will be presumed married, Supreme Court rules

If an unmarried couple is living together as husband and wife, then they would be presumed to be legally married and the woman would be eligible to inherit the property after death of her partner, the Supreme Court has ruled. 

A bench of Justice MY Eqbal and Justice Amitava Roy said continuous cohabitation of a couple would raise the presumption of valid marriage and it would be for the opposite party to prove that they were not legally married. 

"It is well settled that the law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubinage, when a man and woman have cohabited continuously for a long time. However, the presumption can be rebutted by leading unimpeachable evidence. A heavy burden lies on a party who seeks to deprive the relationship of legal origin," the bench said.

Sena wants voting rights of Muslims revoked

“Muslims will have no future till they are used to play vote bank politics and thus Balasaheb had once said to withdraw Muslims voting rights. What he said is right”.

Stoking a controversy, the Shiv Sena on Sunday demanded that voting rights of Muslims should be revoked as the community has often been used to play vote bank politics.

The Sena also compared All India Majlis-e-Ittihadul-Muslimeen (MIM) and Owaisi brothers with “poisonous snakes” who spew venom to “exploit” the minority community.

“Vote bank politics is being played in the name of fighting against the injustice meted out to Muslims. Their educational and health status is being used politically. This politics was once played by the Congress and now every other person calls himself secular.”

“If Muslims are only being used this way to play politics, then they can never develop. Muslims will have no future till they are used to play vote bank politics and thus Balasaheb had once said to withdraw Muslims voting rights. What he said is right,” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said on Sunday.

The “secular masks” of all the so-called secular political parties will be worn out, once their voting rights are withdrawn, it said.

Taking a dig at AIMIM MP Asaduddin Owaisi for challenging Sena president Uddhav Thackeray to come to Hyderabad, the editorial said, “Owaisi dares us to come to Hyderabad. But we want to ask him if Hyderabad is in India or in Lahore, Karachi or Peshawar. The pride of Marathis is known in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kandahar as well.”

“By saving the hiding place of snakes, you cannot kill them. Owaisi and his party are like a snake which, if fed, will do no good to the nation. AIMIM is an old snake,” it said.

Treat acid attack victims for free, Supreme Court orders private hospitals

The Supreme Court on April 10 directed private hospitals to provide free treatment, including specialized surgeries, to acid attack victims and asked government authorities to take action against them if they fail to comply with its order.

After laying down a stringent regulatory mechanism for sale of acid to curb acid attacks on women, the court asked private hospitals to bear the entire cost of medical treatment of acid attack survivors, including costly plastic and corrective surgeries.

A social justice bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said hospitals must also provide free medicine, food and other facilities to such victims. Meanwhile, the Centre informed the court that 309 cases of acid attacks were registered in the country in 2014 out of which 185 incidents were from Uttar Pradesh.Madhya Pradesh witnessed the second highest number of cases with 57. No acid attack incident was reported in any Union Territory except Delhi where 27 such cases were registered last year.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

HC fines lawyer for contempt of court

HC has imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 on a lawyer for committing contempt of court by levelling false allegations of corruption against judicial officer B J Ganatra, who upheld the clean chit given by the SC appointed SIT to then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in connection with the 2002 riots.

Not pleased with the court's view in one of the cases he used to appear before, advocate Barot wrote a letter to the HC accusing then metropolitan magistrate Ganatra of indulging in corruption. When asked to furnish evidence to substantiate his claims, the lawyer did not come up with any. When the HC initiated contempt of court proceedings against him for wrongly accusing a judge, the lawyer tendered unconditional apology.

The HC slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 on the advocate for his mistake.

HC asks to curb graft in issuing bar-coded ration cards

The HC has directed concerned authorities including the Rajkot district collector to redress grievances of poor people in obtaining bar coded ration cards and to ensure supply of food grains to the poor through the public distribution system. The HC asked the authorities to act in three months' time in response to a PIL filed by one Pravin Lakhani through advocate Subramaniam Iyer and complained that the process of obtaining bar-coded ration cards is so lengthy and cumbersome that the poor people fall prey to the tactics of touts and end up paying bribe without getting their problems solved.

The PIL demanded action against the touts who pose themselves as deputy mamlatdar and indulge themselves in rampant corrupt practice. The HC has also permitted the petitioner to file a criminal complaint before the Anti-Corruption Bureau or before the concerned police station with necessary proof.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Don't cremate woodcutters till Friday: Madras HC

Bodies of six woodcutters, who were among the 20 killed by the Andhra Pradesh police and forest personnel in Seshachalam forests, will be kept in the mortuary of the government hospital in Tiruvannamalai till Friday morning, as Tamil Nadu government on Thursday told the Madras high court that it had no objection for conducting a re-postmortem. The court ordered the authorities not to cremate the bodies till Friday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

PIL in SC challenges land acquisition ordinance

Four NGOs working for farmers on Thursday moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of government's action to repromulgate the land acquisition ordinance. 

The PIL was filed by Delhi Grameen Samaj, Bharatiya Kisan Union, Grameen Sewa Samiti and another NGO alleging that repromulgation of the ordinance amounted to executive entering the impermissible domain of enacting legislation.

The NGOs told the court that the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ordinance was first promulgated in December last year. 

As a Parliament Session followed, the NDA government should have introduced a bill on the line of the ordinance to amend the land acquisition Act, 2013. 

Instead of following the constitutionally dictated procedure, the government decided not to introduce amendment to Land acquisition Act in Parliament when it was in session and immediately after the session repromulgated the ordinance, the PIL said. 

This amounted to government violating the constitutional procedures for ordinance promulgation rendering the executive decision unconstitutional.

1993 Mumbai serial blasts case: SC dismisses plea of Yakub Memon seeking review of death sentence

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed plea of Yakub Memon, seeking review of death sentence awarded to him in 1993 Mumbai blasts case.

The apex court order paves the way for execution of Memon's death sentence, which was stayed after he filed review petition in the Supreme Court.

Memon is the sole death convict in 1993 blasts case, in which around 257 lost their lives after a series of bomb blasts rocked Mumbai.

Memon's case was that the courts have not given any special reasons for sending him to the gallows.

The apex court had in 2013 commuted death sentence of 10 convicts who had parked explosives—laden vehicles at various places in Mumbai, to life term by distinguishing their roles from that of Memon.

Dealing with the case of Memon, a chartered accountant by profession and brother of proclaimed offender Tiger Memon, the court had said he was the "driving force" and a "mastermind" behind the blasts.

The designated trial court under the repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act had in 2006 held Memon guilty of criminal conspiracy and financing air tickets to send co-conspirators for arms and RDX training to Pakistan. The conviction was based almost entirely on retracted confessions of the approvers and other co-accused.

Memon, who sources said, is not keeping good health and is under medication in Nagpur jail, had sought commutation of the death penalty also on the grounds that he cannot be punished twice for the same offence since he has already served 20 years in prison.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Supreme Court rejects Kingfisher's plea challenging Rs 372 Cr TDS demand

The Supreme Court has dismissed the plea of grounded Kingfisher Airlines Ltd against an order of the Karnataka High Court asking it to pay around Rs 372 crore to the Income Tax department for non-payment of TDS, cut from salaries of its employees.

The Supreme Court has dismissed the plea of grounded Kingfisher Airlines Ltd against an order of the Karnataka High Court asking it to pay around Rs 372 crore to the Income Tax department for non-payment of TDS, cut from salaries of its employees.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and NV Ramana rejected Vijay Mallya-owned airlines' plea against the High Court's order. The High Court had upheld the assessment order of the IT department for financial years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 and that the firm has not paid Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) from the salaries of employees.
The apex court said there was no "legal and valid" ground for interference in High court's order and dismissed the appeal of the airlines. It also rejected airlines plea to direct IT department to reconsider facts relating to quantum of TDS payments already remitted.

The IT department had initiated proceedings against airlines in 2011 alleging that the carrier failed to remit the TDS from employees' salaries and other payments with the government.

The department had finalized the demands at Rs 372 crore, around Rs 302 crore towards TDS and Rs 70 crore as interest.

However, the airlines questioned the IT department's jurisdiction before Income Tax Appellate Tribunal and alleged that it was not heard.

The tribunal quashed the demand orders and remanded the case back to the tax department.

Then the IT department filed an appeal before the High Court which quashed tribunal's order and upheld the demands made by it. Before the apex court, the airline also claimed that it has already paid Rs 145 crore out of the total demand.

Supreme Court refuses stay on NJAC Act, refers petitions to larger bench

The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred the matter concerning the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act to a larger bench.

The three-judge bench of justices AR Dave, J Chelameswar and Madan B Lokur, which was expected to pronounce its judgement on maintainability of petitions challenging the validity of a constitutional amendment to Article 124A and the NJAC Act, did not grant any interim stay on the operation of the Act and referred the petitions to a five-judge bench.

The NJAC seeks to replace the two-decade old collegium system of appointing judges.

The apex court had on March 24 reserved its judgement on the petitions after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, wrapped up his rejoinder arguments saying that the pleas be dismissed as they were "premature" and "academic" in nature.

Those opposing the new law on appointment of judges for higher judiciary had submitted that the issue should be referred to a Constitution Bench of five judges.

Referring to various case laws, the AG had argued that the power of Parliament to make law is "plenary" and hence, the methodology adopted by the legislature in clearing the law on the floor of the House cannot be "tested" by the court.

Rohtagi had made the submission after noted jurists like FS Nariman and Anil Divan and some others had contended that as per constitutional scheme, the NJAC Act should not have been passed ahead of enabling constitutional amendment.

However, Rohatgi had submitted that "only end product can be examined by the courts and it is irrelevant that this Act was passed earlier and that Act was passed later."

The apex court had said it could proceed on the merits of the matter only after deciding whether the petitions challenging the validity of the Constitutional Amendment Act and the NJAC Act were maintainable or not.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Supreme Court orders TNCA to demolish three Chepauk stands

The Supreme Court of India ruled that three stands (I,J,K) of the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai will not be used to seat spectators during the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL). The apex court said that the stands constructed violated the safety norms and added that the unauthorised parts have to be demolished. .

The three stands combined can accommodate up to 12000 fans.

"Your starting point was wrong. You are not an average citizen constructing one room or so, you are TNCA. Everything smells and everything stinks," a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R.V. Ramana told TNCA which owns the stadium. The court was also surprised that initial inspections had cleared stands I and J. 

The court directed the state board to send out the plan for the destruction of parts of the stands to the Chennai Municipal Corporation. The bench added that the board can request for a ground inspection once the demolishing is done and the stands conform to the safety standards.

Asking the TNCA to take necessary steps to remove unauthorised construction to meet the requirements of public safety, the court said: "If deficiencies are found to be removed, then CMC will act accordingly."

The court remained unimpressed when senior counsel Amit Sibal appearing for TNCA urged the court to allow them to use the three stands as in past 21 matches held in the stadium, spectators were seated in them.

TNCA pleaded that they be allowed permission to use the stands during the IPL, which kicks off on April 8th, following which they weill get around to the demolition of the unauthorised structures. It said that the ground has, in the past, used the stands for 21 games and there were no mishaps. TNCA sought similar permission for this IPL season as an interim measure.

The bench, however, rejected the plea saying, "We are not inclined to allow you to use the three stands. You should not have started the construction without planning permission and approval. Your starting point is stinking so many compromises with the authorities. We don't want to open a can of worms."

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Doctor caught conducting gender determination tests in Ahmedabad

For the first time in the city, a gynaecologist as well as his agent have been nabbed red-handed for the second time for conducting gender determination tests. The doctor, Paresh Sheth, practised in Shah Alam. He was caught conducting the sex determination test in a sting operation carried out by a team led by Ahmedabad district development officer Bhargavi Dave, central district health officer Shilpa Yadav, and ACP Kanan Desai, on Wednesday. Sheth's agent, Ashok Patel, was caught when he came around to Sheth's clinic to settle accounts in the evening. The two accused were allegedly involved in the dubious trade since 2005.

Sheth and Patel were booked under the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PC-PNDT) Act. The raiding team, for the first time, did not involve the nodal officer from the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

Back in 2009, Sheth was convicted after failing to submit details of sonography tests he conducted. These details have to be submitted to the nodal officer before the 5th of every month. As punishment, Sheth was made to sit in court for the whole day and pay a fine of Rs 1,000 in cash. He was then let off. Patel, on the other hand, represented the first case in Gujarat (in 2012) of a person being remanded in police custody under the PC-PNDT Act. Patel, back then, acted as an agent to Dr Hemang Shah in Naroda, who conducted tests using a portable sonography machine.

Both Sheth and Patel charged each of their clients Rs 12,000 for the sex determination test. On Wednesday, the raiding team had identified an agent, Shakina Mansuri, a former midwife with the AMC who was known to Patel. Mansuri and the pregnant lady (decoy acting on the behalf of the raiding team) sat in an autorickshaw organized by Patel. The auto took them to Sheth's clinic in Shah Alam in the morning. "When our decoy asked for the sonography report, Sheth replied that it would be given to her in the evening," says Dave. "In the evening Sheth was to collect his share from Patel. The mandatory form 'F' carrying details of the patient was not filled. Patel will reveal the identities of more doctors involved in this death trade."

HC issues contempt notice over Nandasan temple not being razed

Gujarat high court issued a contempt of court notice to Mehsana district authorities for not following orders to pull down a temple at Nandasan town, which was being constructed illegally on grazing land.

A bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice J B Pardiwala asked the officials to explain their act of ignoring the court order from August last year. This happened after the original petitioner, Vishnu Raval, brought it to the court's notice that neither the authorities nor those involved in the construction had moved the Supreme Court, but the district panchayat president cited an appeal in the apex court and ordered a stay on the demolition ordered by the HC.

Raval's lawyer, demanded action against those responsible for not implementing the court's order on the basis of an alleged blatant lie in the name of pendency in the SC. The HC sought a reply to this by April 24.

In Nandasan village of Kadi block, a temple was coming up on a 2,280-square metre plot of grazing land since 2009. The HC intervened in response to a PIL by Raval, who complained against the illegal construction and against the authorities turning a blind eye to it despite various complaints being made in this regard.

The HC ordered the village panchayat to remove the temple from the gauchar land and showed grave concern. "We expect the gram panchayat to proceed full steam ahead in taking action against encroachers of gauchar land and to ensure that illegal construction is removed as early as possible, of course, after following due process of law. This shall be completed by the taluka panchayat, which shall ensure that the village panchayat does not fail in carrying out these directions."

The HC even warned the sarpanch that he could be removed for inaction.

Man held for posting woman’s nude pictures

 A team of city crime branch's cyber cell has caught a man for posting his sister-in-law's objectionable pictures on Facebook and five other websites to defame her after she refused to develop physical relationship with him. 

According to cyber cell officials, Seema Patel (name changed), a native of Junagadh, had come to Ahmedabad after she got job in a multinational corporation and started living at a paying guest facility in Satellite in 2013. Her cousin was living in Swati Apartment at Jivraj Park whom she visited a couple of times during which she came in contact with the cousin's husband Piyush Trehan. 

"According to her complaint, Trehan started stalking her and expressing love towards her. As she did not want to harm her cousin's love marriage, she did not talk about it to the cousin or her family. Trehan reportedly started visiting her workplace despite her protest. As a last resort, she accepted friendship. Soon, his demands increased as he started forcing her for physical relationship. When she refused, he asked her for nude pictures promising never to harass her," said a cyber cell official. 

In a weak moment, Seema sent the said photos after which nightmare started for her. In her complaint, she mentioned that Trehan started blackmailing her with it and when she did not comply, he started beating her up even at public places. Tired of the treatment, she went back to Junagadh leaving job in January this year after which Trehan started forcing her to return. 

"When she did not return, Trehan made three fake Facebook profiles on which he posted her objectionable pictures. In addition, he also posted the pictures on five websites. When Seema got to know about it, she told about the entire episode to her relatives who approached police. Sub-inspector JP Rojiya established that the pictures were indeed posted by Trehan after which he was arrested," said H A Rathod, inspector of city cyber cell. 

Black coat: Bar council grants relaxation

The Bar Council of Gujarat (BCG) on Tuesday issued a circular granting relaxation to the lawyers practicing in lower courts across the state from putting on black coat for next four months of summer during their appearance before the court. 

The BCG has been granting this relaxation for past few years after it contested a prolonged legal battle with the high court and won it. From April 1 to July 31, the lawyers practicing in subordinate courts in Gujarat are not required to wear coat during arguments. They can wear black ties with the logo of the bar council on them. The bar council had filed a petition in the high court requesting it to spare the lower court's advocate from compulsorily wearing coats during summers. During the hearing, it was argued that the lower courts' condition was different from that of the high court, where all courtrooms are air conditioned.