Sunday, January 31, 2010

Urgent need to ban porn websites: CJI

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan on Sunday said there was an urgent need to ban websites that circ u l at e pornography and hate speeches and emphasized the need for cyber law enforcement.

“The government can place bans on websites that exclusively circulate pornography and hate speeches. However, it would not be right to place a blanket ban on all categories of websites. It is also important to distinguish between intermediaries such as Network Service Providers, website operators and individual users for the purpose of placing liability for wrongful acts,” the chief justice said.
Websites are created and updated for many useful purposes, but they can also be used to circulate offensive content such as pornography, hate speech and defamatory materials. In many cases, the intellectual property rights of authors and artists are violated through the unauthorized circulation of their works.
“There has also been an upsurge in instances of financial fraud and cheating in relation to commercial transactions conducted online,” the CJI emphasized at a Cyber Law Enforcement Programme and National Consultation meeting here. PTI

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

French parliament report calls for full ban on Islamic burqa

PARIS: A French parliament report called on Tuesday for a ban on the full Islamic veil in all schools, hospitals, public transport and government offices, saying the burqa was an affront to French values.

"The wearing of the full veil is a challenge to our republic. This is unacceptable," the report released by a parliament commission said. "We must condemn this excess."

After six months of hearings, the panel of 32 lawmakers recommended a ban on the face-covering veil in all state-run institutions and offices, the broadest move yet to restrict Muslim dress in France.

The commission called on parliament to adopt a formal resolution stating that the burqa was "contrary to the values of the republic" and proclaiming that "all of France is saying 'no' to the full veil."

Women who turn up at government offices wearing the full veil should be denied services such as a work visa, residency papers or French citizenship, the report recommended.

The panel however stopped short of proposing broad legislation to outlaw the burqa on the streets or in shopping centres after cautioning that such a move would have to be reviewed by the courts to establish its legality.

"The wearing of the full veil is the tip of the iceberg," said communist lawmaker Andre Gerin, the chair of the commission.

"There are scandalous practices hidden behind this veil," said Gerin who vowed to fight the "gurus" seeking to export a racial brand of fundamentalism and sectarianism to France.

Home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority, estimated at about six million, France is being closely watched at a time of particular unease over Islam, three months after Swiss voters approved a ban on minarets.

President Nicolas Sarkozy set the tone for the debate in June when he declared the burqa "not welcome" in France and described it as a symbol of women's "subservience" that cannot be tolerated in a country that considers itself a human rights leader.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Foetal Sex determine easily...?

Just a blood test can tell foetal sex in early pregnancy

Normally, parents who want to know the sex of their baby before it's born find out through ultrasound done in the second trimester. A blood test that can be done early in pregnancy is highly accurate at determining the sex of the fetus, however, a new study finds.
The test is important, write the authors of the study, because in some cases, there are medical reasons to determine fetal sex earlier. That has traditionally meant invasive tests, like amniocentesis, which carry a small risk of miscarriage.
Consequently, maternal blood tests that pick up certain markers of fetal sex have been developed and put into use in recent years. So far, research has shown the accuracy of these tests to vary widely, depending on the methods used.
In this latest study, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynaecology, researchers in the Netherlands found that the testing method used at their centre was 100% accurate in determining fetal sex among nearly 200 pregnant women.
Part of what's new about the findings is that they show the effectiveness of blood testing as it is done in routine practice — and not just in the research setting, Ellen van der Schoot, of Sanquin Research Amsterdam, said. The study does not discuss costs, nor when the test might be available to the general public.
Still, the findings support using the tests in cases where fetal sex is important in detecting or managing certain inherited medical conditions.
For example, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) is a genetic disorder that causes girls to develop abnormal external genitalia and male-like characteristics like a deep voice and excessive body hair. REUTERS

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lawyers beat up youth in court campus

Ahmedabad: A youth was beaten up by three lawyers at Gheekanta court premises after a scuffle on Saturday. Pritesh Shah, 28, filed a complaint with Karanj police station officials on Sunday in the matter.

According to the complaint, Shah, a resident of Kes h av b a u g Colony, Satellite, is fighting a case in the metropolitan court for last one year. When Shah came with his brother Ruchir and sister Dhara on Saturday, he was approached by Kirti Purabiya, Kanji Chauhan and an unidentified person, all lawyers practising at Gheekanta court, who told him to take the case back.
“When Shah refused to comply with the demands, Purabiya attacked him. The lawyer trio started beating up him and his brother. Other people present on the scene intervened and saved them. According to the complaint, Purabiya represents the opposite party. “We are investigating the case,” a Karanj police station official said.

DIRECTOR, C.B.I. & ANR. v. D.P. SINGH [2009] INSC 1804 (16 December 2009)


The Director, Central Bureau of Investigation & Anr. ...Appellants
Shri D.P. Singh ...Respondent

This appeal by special leave is directed against the judgment of the High Court of Delhi dated March 8, 2002 whereby writ petition preferred by the present respondent was allowed and it was directed that his seniority to the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police (Dy.S.P.) should be counted from November 24, 1977 in place of June 29, 1987.

2. D. P. Singh-respondent-joined U. P. Police Service on February 16, 1964 as Sub-Inspector. On May 11, 1966, he was sent on deputation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as Sub-Inspector. While he was on deputation, he was appointed to the post of Inspector on December 31, 1970 against deputation quota as per the then existing Special Police Establishment (Executive Staff) Recruitment Rules, 1963 (for short, `Rules, 1963'). He continued to be on deputation with CBI and vide Order dated November 24, 1977, he was appointed to the post of Dy. S.P. on ad-hoc basis. He appears to have exercised his option for absorption to the post of Dy.S.P. in CBI in 1980 and the request for absorption also seems to have been accepted in 1983 but no formal order was issued and it was only vide order dated May 15, 1995 that respondent was absorbed in the service of CBI and appointed as Dy.S.P. on transfer basis with effect from June 29, 1987 on the recommendation of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and as per the guidelines issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) vide Office Memorandum dated May 29, 1986. The respondent, however, made representation and claimed his seniority with effect from November 24, 1977 when he was initially appointed to the post of Dy.S.P. in CBI. No favorable response on his representation was received by the respondent. He, then, approached Central Administrative 2 Tribunal (CAT), Principal Bench, New Delhi by filing original application praying therein that direction be issued to the present appellants to fix his seniority in the grade of Dy.S.P.
with effect from November 24, 1977 in place of June 29, 1987.
3. On February 3, 1998, CAT dismissed original application filed by the present respondent. The respondent sought review of the order dated February 3, 1998 from the CAT but the review application, too, was dismissed on September 10, 1999.
4. The present respondent aggrieved by the aforesaid orders of CAT, filed writ petition before the High Court which, as indicated above, has been allowed by the impugned order.
5. We heard Mr. P.P. Malhotra, Additional Solicitor General for the appellants and Mr. Rakesh K. Khanna, Senior Counsel for the respondent at quite some length.
6. It is important to notice here that although respondent joined CBI as Sub-Inspector on May 11, 1966 on deputation from U.P. Police and he continued to be on deputation for more than two decades and during this period he was appointed by CBI on next higher posts, viz; Inspector and 3 Dy.S.P. but until his absorption as Dy.S.P. in CBI with effect from June 29, 1987, he continued his lien in the parent department and was not promoted to the post of Dy.S.P. in U.P.
Police (i.e. his parent department).
7. In this backdrop, we deem it appropriate to reproduce the order dated December 26, 1977 whereby the respondent was appointed to officiate as Dy.S.P. with effect from November 24, 1977.
"F.No.A-19036/11/77-Ad.V Govt. of India Ministry of Home Affairs, Deptt. of Personnel & A.R., Central Bureau of Investigation Kotah House Hutments, New Delhi.
Dated 26 Dec 1977 NOTIFICATION (TO BE PUBLISHED IN GAZETTE OF INDIA PART III SEC.I) The director, Central Bureau of Investigation and Inspector General of Police, Special Police Establishment hereby appoints Shri D.P. Singh, Inspector of Police, C.B.I.
CIU (II), Branch and an officer of Uttar Pradesh Police Deptt.
to officiate as Dy. Supdt. of Police in Central Bureau of Investigation, Special Police Establishment with effect from the forenoon of 24.11.77 in a temporary capacity until further order.
(V.P...............) Administrative Officer (E) Central Bureau of Investigation."
8. Rules, 1963 have been made by the President in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution. These rules apply to the post of Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police in the Special Police Establishment. Inter alia, Schedule appended thereto provides that post of Deputy Superintendent of Police which is classified as General Central Service Group, gazetted and non-ministerial post, shall be filled in by selection.
The schedule provides for quota for selection to the post of Dy. S.P. for deputationists. There is a note appended to the Schedule for the post of Superintendent of Police and Deputy Superintendent of Police which provides that when these posts are held by deputation by officers of the State or Central Government Department, these posts will be treated as tenure posts. The note further provides that deputationists will not be eligible for promotion in the quota shown against the higher posts but if they are otherwise suitable and if vacancies are available, such deputationists may be appointed against deputation quota.
9. Rules, 1963 were amended in 1972 whereby in columns 10 and 11 in Schedule the following provisions were made :
"Column 10:
(a) Promotion - 30 per cent failing which by transfer on deputation failing both by direct recruitment.
(b) Transfer/deputation-50 per cent failing which by direct recruitment.
(c) Direct recruitment-20 per cent in consultation with the Union Public Service Commission."
Column 11:
Inspector of Police in the Central Bureau of Investigation with 5 years service in the grade rendered after appointment thereto on a regular basis.
Suitable officers of the State or Central Government Department who are holding equivalent posts or who, though holding posts in the next lower grade, are officer approved for promotion to equivalent posts, Deputation:
Deputationist Inspector in the Central Bureau of Investigation who have put in at least 5 years service in the rank in the State/Central Bureau of Investigation out of which at least 3 years is in the Central Bureau of Investigation.
(Period of deputation ordinarily not exceeding 5 years)."
10. Further amendment was brought in the Rules, 1963 as amended in 1972 by amendment Rules, 1987.
11. On May 29, 1986, an Office Memorandum was issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), Government of India dealing with the subject of seniority of persons absorbed after being on deputation whereby sub-para (iv) to para 7 of earlier Office Memorandum dated December 22, 1959 was added. Since the whole controversy centres around this Office Memorandum, we deem it appropriate to reproduce it as it is :
"No. 20020/7/80-Estt(D) Government of India/Bharat Sarkar Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions Department of Personnel & Training New Delhi, the 29th May, 1986 OFFICE MEMORANDUM Subject : Seniority of persons absorbed after being on deputation.
The undersigned is directed to say that the existing instructions on seniority of transferees contained in paras 7 of the Annexure to this Department's O.M. No. 9/11/55-RPs dated the 22nd December, 1959 (copy enclosed) mainly deal with cases where persons are straight way appointed on transfer. It is, however, observed that most of the cases of permanent absorption are those where the officers were taken on deputation initially under the method of `transfer on deputation/transfer' contained in the relevant recruitment rules. This O.M. is intended to fill this gap in the existing instructions.
2. Even in the type of cases mentioned above, that is, where an officer initially comes on deputation and is subsequently absorbed, the normal principle that the seniority should be counted from the date of such absorption, should mainly apply. Where, however, the officer has already been holding on the date of absorption in the same or equivalent grade on regular basis in his parent department, it would be equitable and appropriate that such regular service in the grade should also be taken into account in determining his seniority subject only to the condition that at the most it would be only from the date of deputation to the grade in which absorption is being made. It has also to be ensured that the fixation of seniority of a transferee in accordance with the above principle will not affect any regular promotions made prior to the date of absorption. Accordingly, it has been decided to add the following sub-para (iv) to para 7 of general principles communicated vide O.M. dated 22nd December, 1959:
"(iv) In the case of a person which is initially taken on deputation and absorbed later (i.e. where the relevant recruitment rules provide for transfer on deputation/transfer"), his seniority in the grade in which he is absorbed will normally be counted from the date of absorption. -If he has, however, been holding already (on the date of absorption) the same or equivalent grade on regular basis in his parent department, such regular service in the grade shall also be taken into account in fixing his seniority, subject to the condition that he will be given seniority from.
- the date he has been holding the post on deputation, or - the date from which he has been appointed on a regular basis to the same or equivalent grade in his parent department, whichever is later.
The fixation of seniority of a transferee in accordance with the above principle will not, 8 however, affect any regular promotions to the next higher grade made prior to the date of such absorption. In other words, it will be operative only in filling up of vacancies in higher grade taking place after such absorption.
In cases in which transfers are not strictly in public interest, the transferred officers will be placed below all officers appointed regularly to the grade on the date of absorption."
3. All the Ministries/Departments are requested kindly to bring these instructions to the notice of all concerned in the Ministries/Departments and Attached and Subordinate Offices under them for their guidance and to ensure their compliance.
4. These orders will not be applicable to transfers within the Indian Audit and Accounts Department which are governed by orders issued by the C & A.G. from time to time.
5. Hindi version is attached.
Sd/- (K.S.R. Krishna Roa) Deputy Secretary to the Government of India."
12. Mr. P.P. Malhotra, Additional Solicitor General urged that since the respondent was not Dy.S.P. in his parent department in 1977 nor was he holding equivalent grade of Dy.S.P. on regular basis in his parent department (U.P.
Service), his seniority in the grade of Dy.S.P. has to be counted from June 29,1987 when he was absorbed. He, thus, submitted 9 that the judgment of the High Court is unsustainable in the light of sub-para (iv) as mentioned in O.M. dated May 29, 1986.
13. On the other hand, Mr. Rakesh K. Khanna, learned Senior Counsel for the respondent submitted that since the respondent has been holding the post of Dy.S.P. in CBI since November 24, 1977, as per sub-para (iv), his seniority from the date he has been holding such post must be counted. He relied upon decisions of this court in the case of K. Madhavan and Another v. Union of India and Others1, Direct Recruit Class II Engineering Officers' Association v. State of Maharashtra and Others2, Union of India and Another v. Harish Chander Bhatia and Others3 and Rameshwar Prasad v. Managing Director, U.P. Rajkiya Nirman Nigam Limited and Others4. He also submitted that part of the Office Memorandum dated May 29, 1986 has been declared unconstitutional by this Court in Sub- Inspector Rooplal and Another v. Lt. Governor through Chief Secretary, Delhi and Others5.
1 (1987) 4 SCC 566 2 (1990) 2 SCC 715 3 (1995) 2 SCC 48 4 (1999) 8 SCC 381 5 (2000) 1 SCC 644 10
14. The question involved in the case of sub-Inspector Rooplal5 was whether a Sub-Inspector, who was appointed as such in the Border Security Force when transferred on deputation to the Delhi Police in the cadre of Sub-inspector (Executive) on being permanently absorbed with the transferred post, was entitled to count his substantive service as Sub- Inspector in BSF for the purpose of seniority in the cadre of Sub-Inspector (Executive) in the Delhi Police or not. While dealing with the aforesaid question, this Court referred to long line of cases and, particularly, relying upon the decisions of this Court in R.S. Makashi v. I.M. Menon .6 and Wing Commander J. Kumar v. Union of India7 held that right of deputationist to count his service for the purpose of seniority in the transferred department was well settled and, therefore, when a deputationist is absorbed in a department, he would certainly have expected that his seniority in the parent department would be counted. The court, however, clarified that if the previous service of a transferred official is to be counted for seniority in the transferred post, then two posts should be equivalent. This 6 (1982) 1 SCC 379 7 (1982) 2 SCC 116 11 Court, however, declared the expression "whichever is later"
unconstitutional. The judgment of this Court in Sub-Inspector Rooplal5 is of no help to the respondent as he did not hold the post of Dy. S.P. or equivalent post in his parent department at the time of transfer or absorption.
15. As a matter of fact, the plain reading of sub-para (iv) which has been added to earlier O.M. dated December 22, 1959 vide O.M. dated May 29, 1986 would show that it provides that a deputationist whose services are absorbed later would get his seniority in the grade in which he is absorbed normally from the date of his absorption. However, in a case of person who has already been holding the same or equivalent grade in his parent department on regular basis, his seniority shall be counted from the date he was holding same or equivalent grade in his parent department. Insofar as the present case is concerned, admittedly, respondent did not hold the rank of Dy.S.P. or the equivalent post in his parent department on the date of his appointment as Dy.S.P. on ad-hoc basis in 1977 or at the time of his absorption in 1987 and, therefore, his seniority in Dy.S.P. can only be counted from the date of his absorption, 12 i.e., June 29, 1987. If the construction put by the learned Senior Counsel for the respondent to sub-para (iv) is accepted, it would render the first part of sub-para (iv), viz., "In the case of a person which is initially taken on deputation and absorbed later (i.e. where the relevant recruitment rules provide for transfer on deputation/transfer), his seniority in the grade in which he is absorbed will normally be counted from the date of absorption,"
redundant and surplussage. Such construction would be against the basic rule of construction that language of the statute should be read as it is and a construction which results in rejection of words as redundant must be avoided. In Aswini Kumar Ghose v. Arabinda Bose8, this Court observed that it is not a sound principle of construction to brush aside words in a statute as being inapposite surplussage, if they can have appropriate application in circumstances conceivably within the contemplation of the statute.
16. In K. Madhavan1, this Court, while holding that `deputation' may be regarded as a `transfer' from one government department to another, reiterated that transfer cannot wipe out length of service in the post from which an 8 AIR 1952 SC 369 13 employee has been transferred and if a government servant holding a particular post is transferred to the same or equivalent post in another government department, the period of his service in the post before his transfer ought to be taken into consideration. This legal position admits of no doubt but the respondent herein did not hold the post of Dy.S.P. or equivalent grade on regular basis in his parent department prior to his absorption and, therefore, the principle laid down in K.
Madhavan1 has no application.
17. It is true that respondent was appointed as Dy.S.P.
on officiating basis by CBI in 1977 and he continued as such until his absorption in 1987, the question is, should the said period be taken into account for considering his seniority. The answer, in our opinion, has to be in the negative. It is so because sub-para (iv) of Office Memorandum as quoted above plainly provides that date of absorption, ordinarily, would be the date from which seniority in the grade is to be reckoned. In the present case, no departure from the aforesaid position is possible as the respondent was not holding the post of Dy.S.P.
or equivalent post in his parent department anytime prior to his 14 absorption. The two decisions in Direct Recruit Class II Engineering Officers' Association2 and Harish Chander Bhatia3 heavily relied upon by the Senior Counsel for the respondent, in our view, are not of much help to the respondent because his initial appointment as Dy.S.P. was purely on ad-hoc basis and there is nothing to indicate that his selection was according to Rules. As a matter of fact, the respondent could have been absorbed only after receipt of recommendation from UPSC.
Thus, the period during which the respondent worked as Dy.S.P. in CBI on officiating basis prior to his absorption, in our considered view, cannot be counted. The Tribunal in this regard held thus :
"3. We are of the view so long as the applicant could claim no lien on the post of Dy. Superintendent of Police in C.B.I., he could not claim any seniority in C.B.I. After he was absorbed on 9.11.1994, he could claim lien on that post and the earlier lien with U.P. Police would cease to exist from that date. Accordingly, we find no merit in the claim of the applicant for his seniority from 1977 as Dy. Superintendent of Police in C.B.I. Further, the claim also appears to be barred by time. If the applicant considered himself entitled to seniority from 1977, he ought to have come immediately after the date he was denied seniority by the respondents."
We find no infirmity in the aforesaid view of the Tribunal.
18. For the foregoing reasons, appeal deserves to be allowed and is allowed. The judgment dated March 8, 2002 impugned in the present appeal is set aside. Parties shall bear their own costs.
........................J (Markandey Katju)
........................J (R. M. Lodha)
New Delhi December 16, 2009.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Custody battle: HC grants 6-yr-old's wish to be with mother

AHMEDABAD: The custody of a six-year-old girl was handed over to her mother after she narrated the sordid tales of her father who was her legal custodian after her parents divorced. Oshiya presented her story before a Gujarat High Court judge, and in clear terms told the judge that she would like to stay with her mother. The little girl also told the court that she did not like her father's behaviour.

While she was narrating the accounts about her father, his lawyer entered the judge's chamber and the girl immediately changed her stand. The judge noticed that she felt intimidated. The lawyer was sent out of the room, and Oshiya was almost begging the judge that she would be more comfortable if she lived with her mother.

Oshiya is the only child of 28-year-old pharmacist Eshita Sitapara from Vadodara and Hiren Brahmbhatt, 44, who is facing 29 trials and is recently out of jail on bail. They got married in 2001 and the child was born in 2003. Immediately after Oshiya's birth, Brahmbhatt went to jail for various offences. When he came out on bail, the couple separated and as per the divorce decree, the girl's custody was to be given to her father.

However, within months, Eshita noticed that her daughter was not happy. Brahmbhatt was irregular in paying her school fees and the girl was complaining about her father's lifestyle. Eshita filed for Oshiya's custody in a family court, but did not get any support. She then approached the high court.

The case was heard by Justice Abhilasha Kumari, and Eshita's counsel claimed that because of Brahmbhatt's lifestyle and criminal background, the atmosphere in his house was not suitable for a minor girl. Her father's lawyer continued to defend the case, but the judge held that she would decide after meeting the little girl only.

During the meeting, the judge noticed that Oshiya was "an extremely intelligent and sensitive child. She was old enough to know her mind and could express her feelings". She unequivocally expressed her desire to live with the mother. Oshiya had clear answers when asked why she did not wish to remain with her father. "What the minor girl said, has shocked my conscience...she does not like the activities that go on at her father's house. She is scared and thinks that if her father comes to know about her views, she would face dire consequences," the judge put the exchange on record but added that the goings-on in Brahmbhatt's house, as described by the girl, could not be put on record.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

TN cops to pay rape victim for FIR delay

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court ordered compensation of Rs 1 lakh to a rape victim -- to be paid from the salaries of two police
officers, including a woman inspector, for delay in filing an FIR against the accused.

The petitioner, a 30-year-old woman from Valliyoor in Tirunelveli, said a man in her village had promised to marry her and taken in by his word, she had a sexual relationship with him. But later, his family refused to allow the marriage and demanded a dowry of Rs 1 lakh and 100 gold sovereigns. She was traumatized when the entire village came to know about her "illegitimate" relationship. By law, this amounted to a fraud that vitiated her consent.

Her father lodged a complaint with the Valliyoor police, but inspector K Kandasamy kept the complaint pending. It was only after 10 days that a woman inspector, A Maria Grace -- after much dithering and making the father run from pillar to post -- registered the FIR, charging the man under sections 417 of IPC (cheating) and 376 (rape).

Justice D Murugesan, before whom the petition came up for hearing, directed the DIG of police to initiate departmental action against the police officers and pay the compensation of Rs 1 lakh sought by the victim by recovering the money from the salaries of the two officers.

Refusing to agree with the woman inspector's contention that she had not filed the FIR on receiving the complaint only because the victim appeared before her two days after she was raped, Justice Murugesan said that Section 154(1) of the CrPC pertaining to filing of FIR does not specify that the affected person should come in person to lodge the complaint.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Fuel surcharge to compensate hit-and-run victims?

New Delhi: Appalled by the plight of 20,000-odd families who lose their near and dear in hit-and-run cases every year and fail to get a single penny in compensation because the rogue vehicle remains untraceable, the Supreme Court has appealed to Parliament to take new legislative measures.

It has urged lawmakers to explore the possibility of levying additional fuel levy/surcharge on sale of petrol and diesel, or collecting a one-time (lifetime) third party insurance premium by a central agency from every new vehicle sold, or a mixture of these two. Gross inequality in payment of compensation to victims of hit-and-run cases disturbed a Bench of Justices R V Raveendran, M K Sharma and K S Radhakrishnan. It said, “A victim is denied compensation if the vehicle which hits disappears without trace, or if the vehicle is without insurance, while a similar victim hit by an insured vehicle gets compensation.”
To ensure that all accident victims get compensation, it is necessary to formulate a more comprehensive scheme, the Bench said and suggested the two measures, or a mix of them, for deliberation among lawmakers and an appropriate legislation. If an appropriate solution was worked out through legislation, it would also address a major grievance of insurance companies that their outgoing by way of compensation in motor accident claims was four times the amount received as motor accident premium,the court said.
But what bothered it most was the manner in which road accident victims were left to die unattended. “There is therefore an urgent need for laying down and enforcing road safety measures and establishment of many trauma centres and first aid centres,” said Justice Raveendran, writing the judgment for the Bench.

Monday, January 4, 2010

RTI act doesn't apply to judgments

SC: RTI Act doesn't apply to judgments

NEW DELHI: Can a judge be asked under the Right to Information (RTI) Act as to why and how he came to a particular conclusion in a judgment?

No, says the Supreme Court. The apex court saw the mischief potential of queries under the RTI Act in relation to a judge and his judgments and a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice B S Chauhan firmly said that a judge speaks through his judgments and he could not be made to answer questions relating to his verdict in a case.

"A judge speaks through his judgments and he is not answerable to anyone as to why he wrote a judgment in a particular manner," the Bench said dismissing an appeal filed by one Khanapuram Gandaiah, who had not even challenged the verdict in his case before an appellate forum.

What he asked using an RTI query was why the judge concerned did not consider parts of his submissions, parts of the voluminous documents while additionally putting questions about other aspects of the judgment against him.

Terming all these grievances as valid grounds for filing an appeal, which Gandaiah did not, the Bench minced no words in criticising the appellant for resorting to the RTI Act rather than seeking remedy before higher courts. Gandaiah had made an appliaction under Section 6 of RTI Act, which provides that any information possessed by a public authority under the Act has to be given to an applicant on such a request made either electronically or in writing. The District Judge had rejected his RTI plea.

The Bench agreed with the rejection of his plea seeking information about the judgment under the RTI
Act and said: "A judge can only speak through his judgments and he cannot be made to go on explaining why he took a particular view in a judgment."

"Moreover, as the judge has given his views in the judgment, he cannot give any other reason for his judgment, RTI Act query or otherwise. No party has a right to ask the judge concerned through RTI about the judgment," the Bench said dismissing Gandaiah's appeal.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Rich boy bomber based in Londonistan

Mounting evidence links UK to plane attack in States

HELD: Umar Abdul Mutallab
By Dominic Herbert & Daniel Sanderson, 27/12/2009

THIS is the terrorist who tried to blow up a packed jumbo jet over America being seized by cops.

The dramatic picture above shows Umar Abdul Mutallab moments after Northwest Airlines flight 253 landed safely in Detroit on Christmas Day.

As Scotland Yard yesterday swooped on a £4 million West End flat, US authorities named the 23-year-old as a rich Nigerian banker's son (pictured right) who studied at a London university.

Mutallab, burnt by what experts say was a "new type of explosive device" strapped to his leg, was foiled by hero passenger Jasper Schuringa.

US officials charged Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, 23, with attempting to detonate a bomb strapped to his leg - and activated with a syringe of chemicals - on the Airbus 330 flying from Amsterdam.

STUDENT DIGS? Mutallab's £4m London home

Agents last night wheelchaired Mutallab into a conference room at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor - where he is being treated for burns - so he could be read the charges.

Judge Paul Borman asked Mutallab if he understood the charges. He responded in English: "Yes, I do."

READ: British universities are 'hotbed'

US Visa records list Mutallab as a mechanical engineering student from University College London in the city dubbed "Londonistan" by Washington commentators because of repeated links to global terrorism.

Last night it was revealed that Muttallab, who left for Nigeria after his course finished last year had been BANNED from re-entering Britain. He applied for a new student visa for a six-month UK course in May - but was turned down.

Whitehall sources reportedly said the college he had named "may have been bogus". The Christmas Day bomb drama sparked increased airport security worldwide over fears it featured a new type of explosive device that can evade detection.

Meanwhile Scotland Yard anti-terror cops searched what is thought to be the suicide bomber's three-bedroom flat in a smart Westminster mansion.

INJURED: Hero Jasper, pictured yesterday with bandages over burns
The terror attack was only thwarted by the lightning reactions of hero Dutch film director Jasper Schuringa, who wrested the bomb away from the terrorist, saving the plane and 277 fellow passengers from disaster.

Schuringa was sitting in window seat 20J when the drama kicked off 20 minutes before the scheduled midday landing. He said: "Suddenly, we hear a bang - like a firecracker.

READ: Terror capital of the West

"Everybody panicked. Then someone screamed, 'Fire! Fire!' I looked over to my left and saw smoke rising from a seat. . . I didn't hesitate. I just jumped!"

Schuringa dived over four passengers to reach Mutallab, who had a blanket covering his lap. He added: "It was smoking and there were flames coming from beneath his legs. He had his trousers open and something strapped to his legs."

Schuringa ripped the flaming, object - resembling a small, white shampoo bottle - off Mutallab's left thigh and put out the blaze with BARE HANDS. It is believed Mutallab was carrying 80g of Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate, a highly explosive compound generally stored as a mixture in water, and had tried to detonate it using chemicals in a syringe.

Members of the flight crew raced over with fire extinguishers. Then Schuringa dragged Mutallab from his seat. "I took him in a headlock to the first class section. "I don't feel like a hero. It came completely natural. I had to do something," he said.

As the bomber was being manhandled away one woman passenger said he was yelling, swearing and "screaming about Afghanistan". While al Qaeda suspect Mutallab was being quizzed in the US, detectives in London scoured the Westminster property they believe was his British home.

DEPARTURE POINT: Airport in Amsterdam
He is said to have lived there with relatives in an apartment on the second floor. It was the scene of intense police activity yesterday.

One local told us Mutallab and his family rented several apartments in the block and are thought to have been there since 2002. Neighbour Rebecca Pelayo, 58, said residents there were mostly "very wealthy people" who used the luxury flats as second homes.

A spokesman for nearby University College London last night said a student of Mutallab's exact name was enrolled on a course there from September 2005 to June 2008.

Although sources in the US insisted the two were the same man, a college spokesman said: "It must be stressed the university has no evidence this is the same person."

Mutallab is the son of a top Nigerian businessman who until a fortnight ago was chairman of First Bank, one of the country's largest financial groups. Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, an ex government minister, was said to have become so concerned about his son's extremist beliefs he contacted the US and Nigerian authorities six months ago.

He was said to be "devastated" yesterday and was surprised Umar was issued with a visa for the US after his concerns were raised. He added his son had not lived in London "for some time" but believed he "might have been to Yemen".

Reports in Nigeria claimed Mutallab had been noted for extreme views on religion since schooldays, preaching Islam to his classmates.

Mutallab, who attended a British school in Lome, Togo, was even nick-named "The Pope" by classmates because of his pious, clean- living ways, his ex teacher Michael Rimmer told Five Live last night.

DETROIT MAYHEM: A security worker enters jet
The attack brought back chilling memories of British shoebomber Richard Reid who tried to destroy a transatlantic flight eight years ago.

Mutallab reportedly confessed to the FBI that he was acting on the orders of al Qaeda - on a "mission to bring down a jet on US soil". He was said to have told investigators he had explosive powder, supplied to him in Yemen, taped to his leg and had used the syringe of chemicals to mix with it to create an explosion. US officials said the bomb was a "fairly sophisticated device" which, alarmingly, they have never encountered before.

Representative Peter King of New York, senior Republican on the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, said: "My understanding is the suspect does have al Qaeda connections and his name popped up pretty quickly. This could have been catastrophic. I would say we dropped the ball."

UK LINK: Cops raid London home
Dutch authorities said Abdul Mutallab was flying on a one-way ticket from Lagos to Detroit and had passed through security checks at Schiphol airport in transit.

But Dutch counter-terrorism agency NCTb said they could not rule out the possibility of dangerous items getting on board - "especially objects difficult to detect with current security technology such as metal detectors".

A meeting of COBRA, the British Government's emergency committee, was held yesterday morning and the UK state of alert is now likely to go from substantial to severe over the next 48 hours.

PM Gordon Brown said: "We will continue to take whatever action is necessary to protect passengers on airlines and the public."