Wednesday, October 22, 2014

High Court reduced maintenance allowance from Rs 50,000 to Rs 20,000 payable by an army colonel to his divorced wife, who is a dentist by profession.

The Bombay High Court has modified a family court order by bringing down the monthly maintenance allowance from Rs 50,000 to Rs 20,000 payable by an army colonel to his divorced wife, who is a dentist by profession.

A bench of justices A R Joshi and Vijaya Tahilramani recently ordered Col Joseph Philip to pay Rs 20,000 per month to his divorced wife Ritu from June 21, 2012 to November 21, 2014, within a period of six weeks.

The court also asked him to continue paying Rs 20,000 per month to Ritu even after November 21.The couple had married at Hisar in Haryana on August 30, 1990, and were blessed with a daughter two years later.

 The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Col Philip against the impugned order of the family court which granted a divorce decree to the couple but ordered maintenance of Rs 50,000. The husband filed an appeal challenging maintenance.

The Mumbai family court had ordered Col Philip to pay Rs 50,000 per month to his estranged wife after going through his salary slips. However, the high court brought it down to Rs 20,000, observing that the maintenance was exorbitant.

“Taking an overall view of the facts and circumstances, we are of the opinion that the amount of maintenance granted by the Family Court in the sum of Rs 50,000 per month is exorbitant and needs to be reduced to Rs 20,000 per month,” said the bench in its order on October 21.

The court noted that the appellant’s 22-year-old daughter was undergoing a veterinary science course in Nagpur for which he was spending money on her hostel accommodation and studies. And this, he did, despite his daughter having an independent source of income from a family business of her maternal uncle. Hence, the daughter was not dependent on Ritu.

The court noted that Ritu was a dentist and also earned some amount out of a trust she ran in the name of ‘Highways Infinite Public Trust’.

Besides, she had a flat and car in her name. The flat was purchased for Rs 15 lakh and half of this amount was contributed by her husband. She also had bought a land in 2008 and sold it for Rs 2.52 lakh, the judges observed while disposing of Col Philip’s appeal.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cycle sellers asked to take identity proof of buyers

 The city police has directed all cycle sellers to ask for the identity proof of the buyers.
The dealers selling battery-run two-wheelers have also been told to issue a proper invoice before the delivery of the vehicle and also collect the identity proof of the buyers.

City police commissioner Shivanand Jha said in a notification that during a terror attack on a mall in Kenya many of those killed were Gujaratis or people from other states in India. Mall owners are directed to take proper security measures, including installing of CCTV cameras and checking of vehicles.

2010 Delhi's Dhaula Kuan gang rape: All 5 convicts sentenced to life imprisonment

Additional sessions judge Virender Bhat awarded life imprisonment to the five men Shamshad alias Khutkan, Usman alias Kale, Shahid alias Chhota Billi, Iqbal alias Bada Billi and Kamruddin for the offence of gang rape.

The court also sentenced the convicts to seven years imprisonment for abduction charges, five years rigorous imprisonment for charges of criminal intimidation. The convicts would undergo the jail terms concurrently.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 each on all the convicts.

The quantum of sentence was pronounced in a jam-packed courtroom amidst high drama with one convict Shahid fainting in the courtroom. Some relatives of the convicts also broke down in the court room and termed the verdict as miscarriage of justice, saying they would challenge the verdict in the Delhi high court.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Bihar CM threatens to chop off hands of lax doctors

Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday warned he would chop off hands of doctors found neglecting poor patients.

"I am ready to face the consequences, but cannot let doctors play with lives of the poor," he said while addressing a public meeting after inaugurating a hospital in East Champaran district.

SC issues warrant against Pondy sisters for defying its order

The Supreme Court has issued a warrant against five sisters, all inmates of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, for defying its orders to leave the premises by July 31 and for failing to appear before it on October 13 following contempt of court notices to them. The sisters Jayashreee Prasad, Arunashri, Rajyashree, Nivedita and Hemlata have been litigating against the ashram for over a decade alleging harassment.

Justices Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya and ?S A Bobde, while hearing a contempt of court petition filed by the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust, directed the superintendent of police to execute its order and posted the matter for further proceedings on December 2. "In spite of service of notice, respondents have not filed affidavit nor appeared in the court. In the circumstances, we issue bailable warrant against alleged contemnor respondents. Copy of this order be forwarded to superintendent of police, Puducherry, for execution of the court's order," they said in their order dated October 13.

The court refused to buy the argument of the sisters that they were ready to appear before it but had no money to pay for their tickets, boarding and lodging. The SC assistant registrar, in an office report, said the contempt notice had been served to the women by Speed Post and through the district court. He said the service report had been received from the district court with endorsement, 'Alleged contemnors 1 to 5 served in person'. "A letter has been received from all the respondents stating therein that they have received the notice on September 22 and ready to appear before the honourable court but they have no money or income to pay for their tickets, boarding and lodging," the assistant registrar said in his report.

With seizures up, Indian gold smuggling loses its shine

Gold smuggling into India, the world's second-biggest consumer of the precious metal, is becoming more risky for couriers following a surge in seizures and less profitable for the gangs behind the practice. 

After being caught off guard by a jump in smuggling on the back of a hike in import duty last year, government agencies have stepped up seizures to the extent that couriers are demanding more money to carry in gold, according to customs intelligence officials and an industry analyst. 

At the same time, a drop in the gap between local and global prices also means there is less profit to be made by smuggling in gold, giving banks more business and higher revenue for a government struggling to rein in a fiscal deficit. 

"Gold smuggling was highly profitable ... but now with the drop in premiums and tight security, legal imports are increasing," said Milind Lanjewar, additional commissioner of customs intelligence at Mumbai international airport.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

DNA test can be used to prove infidelity: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a DNA test can be ordered by courts as a “legitimate and scientifically perfect” tool to establish adultery in divorce cases.
“DNA testing is the most legitimate and scientifically perfect means, which the husband could use, to establish his assertion of infidelity. This should simultaneously be taken as the most authentic, rightful and correct means also with the wife, for her to rebut the assertions made by the husband, and to establish that she had not been unfaithful, adulterous or disloyal. If the wife is right, she shall be proved to be so,” said a bench of Justices J S Khehar and R K Agrawal.
The court, which upheld an order allowing a man’s plea to have a DNA test conducted on a child born to his wife, said that but for the test, it would be impossible for the husband to establish and confirm the assertions of adultery made against him in his divorce petition.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Senior cops can use flashing lights on official vehicles: HC

Gujarat high court on Thursday asked the government to permit police officers above the rank of PI, to keep their rectangular multi-colour flashing 'lightbars' on the top of their vehicles.

Following a PIL and then a contempt proceeding, the police department ordered its officers to take down beacons, but now the HC has permitted them to use flashing lights on their vehicles the way PCR vans use them.

Tamper-proof e-passports to speed up travel

The passport division of the ministry of external affairs has initiated the process for the public roll-out of new-age e-passports. The technology will make the document more secure and also substantially reduce the time required by the holder for immigration.

While the look and feel of the passport will remain largely as it is now, an electronic chip, containing identidfication data, will be embedded in its back cover. The necessary procurements have been initiated by India Security Press, Nashik, and the actual change-over to the next-generation passport is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016.

The e-passport would contain all the data currently given on the second page of the paper-only passports, including photograph, personal and biological data (finger-prints), besides the country's digital signature used to validate the genuineness of the document. The chip can be sealed only once with the signature of the Passport Issuing Authority (PIA), thus making these e-passports virtually tamper-proof.

Friday, October 10, 2014

India's Kailash Satyarthi and Pak's Malala Yousafzay win Nobel peace prize

India's Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan's Malala Yousafzay were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for "showing great personal courage" and their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.

The committee said Kailash Satyarthi maintained Mahatma Gandhi's tradition and headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain. He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children's rights".

Snoopgate probe comes to an end, Gujarat HC scraps panel

Gujarat high court on Friday quashed the probe panel setup by the state government to look into the reports of stalking of a young architect by ATS sleuths at the instance of then MoS home Amit Shah in 2009.

The HC quashed the probe panel's appointment in response to a petition filed by the architect's father Pranlal Soni, who demanded to put an end to the issue on the ground that the existence and functioning of this commission are in breach of his family's privacy.

Soni filed the petition on Thursday and Justice Paresh Upadhyay heard the case, sought the state government's opinion and quashed the setting up of the probe panel.

The probe commission comprising Justice Sugnya Bhatt and retired IAS K C Kapoor was set up on November 26 last year after two investigative news portals - and had uploaded audio tapes on November 15 claiming that Shah had ordered the illegal surveillance of a woman at the behest of one "Saheb".

This was exposed after IPS officer and an accused in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case G L Sighal's pen-drive, which contained more than 250 audio files, was recovered by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The probe panel began inquiry and got three extensions till date.

It summoned Singhal and Shah, but none appeared before it.

On the other hand, Soni made representations before various authorities to wind up the inquiry including human rights commission on the ground that it is in violation of his family's right to privacy. He finally moved HC.

Soni submitted that the surveillance was done with the consent of his family, and he is not a victim in this case. But the most important aspect is continuing inquiry amounts to breach of his privacy. His lawyer argued that section 3 of the Inquiry Commission Act mandates the government to commission such inquiry when there is grievance or when the issue is of utmost public importance.

But in this case, the information was gathered from various media and though there was no complainant, the inquiry was set up without thinking that it is a personal and private matter and not of the public importance or national importance. He urged the court to trash the inquiry being violative of Soni's fundamental right to privacy.
The HC asked the state government, which did not dispute the facts of the case. When there was no objection found from the side of the government, Justice Upadhyay quashed the order for setting up of the inquiry into the case.

Before this, two PIL were filed questioning the scope and reference of this inquiry commission on the ground that the government should order inquiry into interception of all mobile calls, and not only in this 2009 incident.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Madras HC dismisses PIL against Jayalalithaa's removal as CM

Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a PIL challenging the change of guard in Tamil Nadu with the swearing in of Panneerselvam as Chief Minister after AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa was convicted in an illegal assets case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M. Sathyanarayanan dismissed the PIL filed by an advocate, Prabhakaran, observing that he had no locus standi.

The petitioner had contended that Jayalalithaa, sentenced to four years imprisonment by a Bangalore court attracting disqualification as MLA under Representation of Peoples Act, had not attracted disqualification (as Chief Minister) and Panneerselvam taking oath as CM was usurpation of office.

Disqualification as a member of assembly would only result in the person losing the membership of the legislature and not the ministership, he had submitted.

The Supreme Court judgement (on disqualification) must be distinguished as being inapplicable to the ministers but being applicable only to the MLAs MPs and MLCs since according to the Constitution, the post of Chief Minister or the Prime Minister was different from that of membership of legislature.

The two posts are kept under separate chapter - Executive and not under Legislature - in the Constitution, he argued.

He also alleged the state Governor failed to act in consonant with the Constitutional provision as pronounced by the Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court wherein it had been stated that the Governor must obtain the opinion of Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion in matters of disqualification.

In the present case, the Governor did not consult anybody, no disqualification process was set in motion and no report was sent to the Centre or the President. Instead, in a "hurried manner without any due process of law" he had administered the oath of office to Pannerselvam.

The petitioner had prayed for a direction to declare Jayalalithaa as the Chief Minister based on the oath of Secrecy taken by her on May 16, 2014.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Demands for Dowry Cases

The Gujarat high court has advised women not to rush to the police over minor matrimonial disputes because involving the police may destroy all chances of reconciliation with their spouses. The court also criticized the tendency to use the police machinery for holding husbands to ransom. 

The high court said that Section 498-A of the IPC (prevention of cruelty, including making demands for dowry) cannot be invoked for trivial incidents. "Every matrimonial conduct, which may cause annoyance to the other party, may not amount to cruelty. Mere trivial irritations, quarrels between spouses, which happen in day-to-day married life, may also not amount to cruelty," observed Justice J B Pardiwala while quashing the charge of harassment for dowry filed against her in-laws by a woman. 

The high court was hearing a quashing petition filed by a family from Padra near Vadodara. In the case, the daughter-in-law had levelled charges of harassment related to dowry and had filed a criminal case against her in-laws in response to her husband's divorce suit. 

Criticizing the practice of filing false complaints under Section 498-A of IPC, the court said that nowadays women ensure that all relatives of her husband are dragged to court. "Many times the services of professionals are availed of and once the complaint is drafted by a legal mind, it would be very difficult thereafter to pick any loopholes or other deficiencies in the same. However, that does not mean that the court should shut its eyes and raise its hands in helplessness.

HC orders Rs 40 lakh fine for ‘sponsored litigation’

The Bombay high court has ordered a Mumbai resident to shell out Rs 40 lakhs as legal costs while dismissing his application seeking to stop the allotment of a sprawling plot in Versova to a cooperative housing society and halt development by a city builder. Calling Ashok Kulkarni's application a "sponsored litigation" Justice Patel asked him to pay Rs 20 lakhs each to Samarth Development Corporation and Apna Ghar society. SDC had said that it had spent over Rs 3 crore in fighting the case. 

"Everything points to this being a sponsored litigation, with Kulkarni having lent his name to some other entity. On his account alone, huge amounts have had to be spent in defending this and associated litigations. The present litigation is one I have found to be without the faintest glimmer of merit. It is precisely the kind of litigation — speculative lacking in bona fides, sponsored, an abuse of the process of law and of the court, and perhaps even a fraud on the Court — that our Supreme Court has repeatedly decried and deprecated, even said should be visited with exemplary and penal costs," said Justice Patel. The HC stayed its order and also asked MHADA not to hand over the land to the society till November 14, to allow time to file an appeal. 

The legal dispute was over a prime plot in Versova spread over 23 acres. Kulkarni, who was the former chief promoter of the society, claimed he was the exclusively entitled to allotment of the land, on the basis of a 1981 sale agreement and 2008 apex court order. He claimed new members had been brought in by the builder and he was illegally removed as the chief promoter in a society meeting in 2011. In an application he sought the HC to restrain SDC and the society from creating third party rights on the land. 
The HC said that the interim reliefs sought by Kulkarni could not be granted, as the land was not allotted to him personally but to the society of which he was chief promoter. The court also said that Kulkarni had not been unable to proma facie establish that the 55 members of the society were enrolled by the builder or that the members who he claimed was with him were the original members of the society. 

The court pointed out that SDC had paid over Rs 72 crores for the land to the state, Mhada and towards legal fees. The HC questioned how Kulkarni, who claimed to e retired person and who could not come up with Rs 1.5 lakhs in 2004, suddenly in 2012 fought numerous litigations and engaged senior advocates. 

"Nothing explains this incongruity; nothing, that is, except perhaps this: the land in question is about 23 acres. It is in one of Mumbai's north-western suburbs, an area substantially developed, where land values as astronomical. It is an area of enormous development potential. In short, everything points to this being nothing but a sponsored litigation at the behest of a rival developer, possibly one who saw in the occurrence of Kulkarni's name an opportunity impossible to resist, a chance well worth taking when weighed against the potential development profits.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Skype to block local voice calls from India starting Nov 10

Internet-based calling service Skype will stop delivering calls on landline and mobile phones in India from November 10. The Microsoft-owned company did not give any reason for this move.

In a statement, Skype said that users will not be able to make calls to phones in India if they are based in India. However, Skype calls to other countries are still enabled for India-based users.