Sunday, August 26, 2012

6 months cooling period not to come in way of divorce by mutual consent: SC

The Supreme Court has held the six months cooling period should not come in the way for allowing the plea for dissolution of marriage by mutual consent when it has broken down irretrievably.
Agreeing that "technicality should be tampered by pragmatism, if substantive justice was to be done to the parties," a bench comprising justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameswar said there may be occasions when in order to do complete justice to the parties it becomes necessary for this Court to invoke its powers under Article 142 in an irreconcilable situation.
"We have carefully considered the submissions made on behalf of the parties and have also considered our earlier decision. It is no doubt true that the Legislature had in its wisdom stipulated a cooling period of six months from the date of filing of a petition for mutual divorce till such divorce is actually granted, with the intention that it would save the institution of marriage.
"It is also true that the intention of the Legislature cannot be faulted with, but there may be occasions when in order to do complete justice to the parties it becomes necessary for this Court to invoke its powers under Article 142 in an irreconcilable situation," the bench said.
The bench allowed the appeal of a couple, the woman based in Delhi and her husband in Canada, against the order of the lower court which on April 13 posted the hearing of their joint petition on October 15 for the purpose of second motion, as contemplated under Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act which deals with divorce by mutual consent.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Courts cannot round off marks even by 0.29%: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has ruled that the judiciary cannot round off a candidate's marks to make her eligible for admission to higher studies.

Frowning upon a 0.29% upward rounding off done by Karnataka High Court to allow a student to get admitted to a PG course, a bench of Justices AK Patnaik and Ranjana P Desai on Thursday said, "The division bench of the HC erred in holding that the single judge was right in rounding off 54.71% to 55% so as to make the student eligible for admission to PG course. Such rounding off is impermissible."

It added, "When eligibility criteria is prescribed in a qualifying examination, it must be strictly adhered to. Any dilution or tampering with it will work injustice on other candidates."

The eligibility criteria prescribed for securing admission to the PG course was 55% aggregate marks. The student, who secured 54.71%, approached the Indian Nursing Council requesting issuance of a certificate of eligibility to her by rounding off her aggregate marks to 55%.

The council said 0.50% would normally be rounded off to the next digit and suggested her to request the institute to which she wanted to get admitted to in a PG course. But the institute refused to admit her on the ground that she did not have 55% aggregate marks.

Without disturbing her career as she has been admitted into the institute on the basis of the HC order, the apex court bench said, "No provision of any statute or any rule framed thereunder has been shown to us which permits rounding off of eligibility criteria prescribed for qualifying examination for admission to PG course in MSc (Nursing)."

Gujarat HC strikes down state govt’s deal with dental colleges

Gujarat High Court on Thursday in its judgment while striking down a compromise formula entered into by the state government with a Consortium of Self-Finance Dental Institutions for seat sharing of post-graduate dental seats calling it against the statutory provisions.
According to the agreement, 50 per cent of the total seats were to be filled under government quota and remaining 50 per cent seats were to be filled under management quota excluding 15 per cent mandatory NRI quota.
A division bench of the HC comprising of Justices P B Majmudar and Mohinder Pal passed a judgment in this regard while criticising the state government and the Consortium of Self-Finance Dental Institutions for adopting the “short circuit” method regarding seat sharing.
According to the details, admissions to the post-graduate courses of Dental Colleges are being governed under the provisions of the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulations of Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act, 2007. According to the said Act, 75 per cent seats have to be filled in under the government quota and 25 per cent have to be filled in under the management quota that includes NRI quota.
In 2011, the Consortium had challenged constitutional validity of the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulations of Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act, 2007. However, before adjudication of the petition, the petitioners had chose to withdraw the petition while putting forward a settlement arrived at by them with the state government over the seat sharing for post-graduate Dental courses. According to the formula, 50 per cent of the total seats were to be filled under government quota and remaining 50 per cent seats were to be filled under management quota excluding 15 per cent mandatory NRI quota.
Certain meritorious students who got affected by the said agreement challenged it at the HC and the court ruled in their favour while holding the agreement against the statutory provisions.
In its 63-page judgment which started with the lines - “Commerce is at its best in the field of education”, the bench came down heavily on the state government and the Consortium of Self Finance Colleges.
“It is unfortunate that at the time when admission process was under process, a statement was made in a pending petition as late as in March, wherein the state government entered into a settlement prescribing change in the existing pattern or providing seat sharing ratio which is prescribed under the statutory enactment,” the bench observed.
The court has held that the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulations of Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act, 2007, still holds field and the settlement cannot have any overriding effect on it.
The court ruled that the admission procedure will take place as per the said Act. It has also directed the authorities to revise the merit list according to the judgment. The court has also held that the NRI quota will be included in the 25 per cent management quota seats. The decision has been stayed by the bench till August 31.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

M/S. OPTIEMUS INFRACOM LTD. v. M/S. ISHAN SYSTEMS PVT.LTD. & ANR. [2012] EssenSC 422 (1 August 2012)

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO(s).5696 OF 2012 [@Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Civil)23150/2012 CC 12128/2012]

M/S. ISHAN SYSTEMS PVT.LTD. & ANR. Respondent(s)

WITH CIVIL APPEAL NO(s).5697 OF 2012 [@Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (Civil)23161/2012 CC 12468/2012]

M/S.PHOENIX ARC PVT. LTD. Appellant(s)
M/S. ISHAN SYSTEMS PVT. LTD. Respondent(s)


1. Two Special Leave Petitions have been filed against the judgment and order dated 14th February, 2012, passed by the Allahabad High Court, in Civil Miscellaneous Writ Petition No.8409/2012.
2. The first Special Leave Petition has been filed by M/S. OPTIEMUS INFRACOM LTD., being SLP(C)......CC 12128/12. the second Special Leave Petition has been filed by M/S. PHOENIX ARC PVT.LTD., being SLP(C)......CC 12468/12.
3. Delay condoned.
4. Leave granted in both the Special Leave Petitions.
5. Writ Petition No.8409 of 2012, was filed by the respondent, M/S.ISHAN SYSTEMS PVT.LTD.& ANR., against the judgment and order dated 11th April, 2011, whereunder the property of the respondent/judgment-debtor Co. was put to auction. An application had been filed by the respondent-company before the Debts Recovery Tribunal complaining of violation of the statutory rules which regulate the auction of property.
Other grounds were also taken, but the same were rejected by the High Court. In fact, the High Court, after examining the records of the writ petition, had found no good ground to interfere with the order of the Appellate Authority. Instead of stopping there, the High Court went on further to give various directions to the Debts Recovery Tribunal, to proceed and decide the application, which had been filed by the respondent No.1/petitioner, being S.A.No.714/2011. By another direction the auction purchaser was restrained from making any further transfer of the property in question and any construction raised would abide by the orders to be passed in the pending application before the Debts Recovery Tribunal. With the aforesaid directions, the High Court disposed of the writ petition finally.
6. The said judgment and order of the High Court had been questioned on the ground that having found no ground to interfere with the order of the Appellate Authority, the learned Judge of the High Court should not have passed other orders, and, in particular, an order of injunction, which was to the prejudice of the appellant before us, without issuing notice or giving the appellant an opportunity of hearing.
7. Since the writ petition was disposed of on the very first date, without notice to the respondents, there was no occasion to consider the competence of the Allahabad High Court to entertain the writ petition.
Subsequently, another writ petition was filed by the respondents herein, being No.35215 of 2012, before the Allahabad High Court, for quashing the order dated 10th July, 2012, which had been passed by the D.R.T.-III, Delhi, by which the application filed by the respondents herein under Section 17(1) of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (the SARFAESI Act), was rejected. In the said petition, the question of jurisdiction was raised and was heard and decided against the respondents herein. In fact, reference was made in the judgment delivered on 30th July, 2012, to the earlier writ petition and it had been observed that although, the earlier writ petition had been entertained by the Allahabad High Court, the issue relating to jurisdiction had not been gone into, since the writ petition had been disposed of on the first date, without hearing the respondents.
8. Ultimately, the learned Judge accepted the preliminary objections raised on behalf of the appellants herein and held that the Allahabad High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the writ petition and dismissed the same accordingly.
9. Both, S/Shri Venugopal and Ranjit Kumar, learned senior advocates appearing for the appellants in these two appeals, submitted that, although, the order of the High Court has to some extent been worked out and the sale which had been effected has been confirmed, the only question which remained to be considered was the competence of the Allahabad High Court to entertain a writ petition from an order passed by the Debts Recovery Tribunal, Delhi, and the fact that the same was disposed of on the very first day, without notice, by issuing orders and directions which prejudiced the appellants.
10. Mr. Chetan Sharma, learned senior advocate appearing for the respondents, has tried to impress upon us that the order of injunction which was passed by the Allahabad High Court was innocuous and that it did not prejudice or adversely affect the appellants in any way and since the sale has been confirmed, nothing further remained to be decided, as far as the said question is concerned.
11. It is true that the impugned order has more or less worked itself out, but it needs to be indicated that the practice which was adopted by the Allahabad High Court, is not only arbitrary, but also contrary to the concept of the principles of natural justice. Since the writ petition was to be dismissed without issuing notice, it should have been dismissed without giving any further directions in the matter.
Instead, certain positive instructions were given to the respondents and one of the respondents was restrained from dealing with the property, without any notice to him/them. If there was any intention on the part of the learned Judge to protect the properties in question during the pendency of the matter before the Debts Recovery Tribunal, the proper course of action would have been to issue notice, and, if necessary, pass interim orders and, thereafter, after hearing the parties to pass final orders in the matter.
12. We hope that in future, this kind of order will be avoided in the interest of justice and also having regard to the principles of natural justice.
13. The appeals are allowed. The impugned judgment to the extent that it restrains the appellants from alienating or encumbering the property, is hereby set aside.
14. The appeals are disposed of, accordingly.
August 01, 2012.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Accused should not gain from police lapses: SC

An accused facing trial should not be allowed to take advantage of slipshod investigation by police, the Supreme Court has said, cautioning judges against acquitting an offender if the prosecution case stood unshaken.
“This court has repeatedly observed that the court must not get influenced by the inefficiency of the investigating agency and acquit the accused if the core of the prosecution case is undented and established,” said the apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai.
Pronouncing the recent judgment, Justice Desai said that an accused getting away with the inefficient investigation by police would amount to “putting a premium on inefficiency at the cost of cause of justice”.
The court said this while upholding the conviction of Joginder and Varun Kumar accused of murdering Pushpinder in the corridor of Ahir College in Rewari in Haryana April 7, 1999.
Rejecting their plea, the apex court said that despite police inefficiency and carelessness “we find that in the instant case, the core of the prosecution case or the substratum of the prosecution case has remained”.
The court quashed the July 11, 2006 Punjab and Haryana High Court order directing a third accused to undergo life imprisonment. He was a juvenile at the time of committing the offence.
While directing the release of juvenile accused, who at the time of the incident was 17 years five months and 23 days old, the court said that he should have got the benefit of the Juvenile Justice Act .
The accused earlier sought to dent the prosecution case on the basis of some lapses in police investigation and the statement of area police station chief which allegedly contradicted the testimony of witness Ram Chander Yadav.
The court observed that Station House Officer Raja Ram made a statement that was contrary to the deposition by the witness “to cover up his inefficiency”.
Since the trial court convicted the three accused in 2000 on the strength of a single witness, the apex court said: “It is well settled that conviction can be based on the evidence of a sole eyewitness if his evidence inspires confidence. This witness has meticulously narrated the incident and supported the prosecution case. We find him to be a reliable witness.”
The judges noted that main complainant Karambir Yadav was won over by the accused and doubts were sought to be cast upon the acts of courage of witness Ram Chander Yadav who held the two accused while they were attacking the victim.
It was contended that Ram Chander Yadav could not have held two people together because he was disabled and had just one hand.
Noting that Ram Chander Yadav’s left arm was upto the elbow, the apex court said: “Courage and strength are qualities which differ from person to person and one cannot discount the version of Ram Chander Yadav on the basis of surmises.”
“It appears to us that while the complainant, because of lack of courage resiled from his statement, Ram Chander Yadav has courageously stuck to it. This speaks volumes,” the judgment said.
The court also pointed to “an unholy attempt to subvert the (trial) court proceedings” when Ram Chander Yadav’s father Ram Singh moved an application before the court saying that his son “had not witnessed the incident; that his name was cited because he is a friend of the deceased and that the complainant had kidnapped him”.

Photo ID must for non-AC train travel

Railways is set to make it mandatory for passengers travelling in non-AC sleeper class to carry identity proof as part of its efforts to check the widespread menace of transferred tickets sold by touts.

The decision to carry a valid I-card for train passengers in non-AC reserved class is being finalised and likely to be announced shortly, a senior railway ministry official said.

"This is being done to strengthen measures to keep a check on passengers travelling on transferred tickets," the official said.

Earlier in February, railways had made it mandatory for AC class passengers to carry identity proof with them. Passengers travelling on a Tatkal or an e-ticket are also required to carry I-cards while undertaking train journey.

"Non-AC travellers were kept out of the photo I-card decision at that time," the official said, adding that "the policy ambit is being widened now so that every passenger in reserved class onboard a train has a valid identity card."

Once the decision is announced, passengers failing to produce original identity proof in sleeper class, as and when asked for, will be treated as "without ticket" and charged accordingly.

The rule will apply for all sorts of tickets, including those for sleeper class, issued by Railways through computerised passenger reservation system (PRS) or internet.

The decision to introduce photo I-cards for sleeper class passengers is likely to deter touts from booking tickets on fictitious names and selling the same to passengers at a premium price, the official said.

Passengers can carry any of these nine ID proofs while undertaking train journey - voter ID card, passport, PAN card, driving licence, photo identity card having serial number issued by central/state government, student identity card with photograph issued by recognised school/college, Aadhar card, nationalised bank passbook with photograph and credit cards issued by banks with laminated photograph.

A campaign will be soon launched to spread awareness among passengers of sleeper class regarding the move to carry photo identity cards, the official said. Message will be printed on train tickets for spreading awareness among the people.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Disabled Muslim woman's marriage should be annulled: UK court

A British family court has ruled that the forced marriage of a Bangladeshi Muslim woman with learning difficulties should be annulled as she does not have the ability to consent.
The parents of the woman, who are British citizens, arranged for their daughter to marry a man in Bangladesh although she can barely speak and can do almost nothing for herself.
Her husband, a cousin, obtained a spousal visa and came to Britain where he shared the woman's bed for months until social workers got wind of the situation, the Daily Mail reported.
The judge ruled that, under English law, the woman - referred to in court on as DD - simply has no legal capacity 'at the most basic level' either to marry or have sexual relations of any kind.
Justice Parker ruled that DD's marriage could not be recognised in English law, but acknowledged the parents of DD were 'devoted' to their daughter.
Police obtained a forced marriage protection order and the husband was warned that any sexual relations with the woman was likely to amount to a criminal offence.
The woman's parents, who speak very little English, begged Justice Parker not to annul the marriage, saying that, in their culture, disabled children are often found spouses so that they can be provided for.
Despite recognising the parents' genuine love for their daughter, the judge ruled: "In my view a marriage with an incapacitated person who is unable to consent is a forced marriage within the meaning of the Forced Marriage Act 2007."

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Attack on judiciary: Lawyers file contempt petition against Mamata Banerjee

A section of lawyers today moved the Calcutta High Court seeking suo motu contempt proceedings against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her alleged comments against the judiciary on August 14.
A division Bench, comprising Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi, refused to start suo motu proceedings against Banerjee after the matter was mentioned before it.
The division bench instead asked the lawyers to move a petition if they wanted to.
The Bench also observed that they were her personal comments and that the court was not perturbed by such comments.
A section of lawyers also moved the court of Justice K J Sengupta who said that he would hear the matter at 2 pm.
Banerjee had allegedly commented during a function in the state Assembly that there were instances when court judgements had been delivered for money.

Pak Hindus to get long-term visas if they apply properly: Govt

With several hundred Pakistani Hindus arriving in India following alleged persecution, the government Thursday said they will get long-term visas to stay in the country if they apply under stipulated rules.
"So far, no one has applied for long-term visa. Basically, we have norms for the long-term visa. If they apply under them, they will get it," Union Home Secretary R K
Singh told.
He was replying to a question on the possibility of India granting long-term visas to those Pakistani Hindus who have come to the country in last few days.
Most of these people have come on a month-long visa ostensibly for pilgrimage and many of them have reportedly expressed their desire not to go back to Pakistan.
Almost all Pakistani Hindus, before leaving that country, had to give an undertaking to the authorities there that they would not seek asylum from the Indian government and that they would return to Pakistan within 30 days.
Head of such a group, Anup Kumar had alleged that Hindu families were not safe in Pakistan, since kidnapping of young Hindu girls and brides by fundamentalists at gunpoint had become a routine affair.
He did not rule out the possibility that majority of the community members would never like to go back to Pakistan under the prevailing circumstances.

HC orders ad hoc appointment of information officers

The Gujarat high court on Tuesday directed the state government to fill two vacant posts of information commissioner in the state in two months, on an ad-hoc basis, till the backlog of appeals before the commission is cleared.

Acting on a PIL filed by a senior citizen Prafull Desai, a bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala has ordered to appoint the commissioners , so the State Information Commission can deal with the large volume of appeals filed under theRight to Information Act, 2005.

The petitioner, Desai, had filed the PIL seeking the high court's direction to the state government to fill up all posts of information commissioners to make quick disposal of appeals possible, and so the information law can be implemented in its true spirit.

Desai moved the court after the information commission held a Lok Adalat in Vadodara earlier this year, though there is no provision for such a settlement in information laws.

Citing a news report, Desai told the court that information officers pressurized applicants to sign settlement documents. To this, the judges inquired if there is a provision for settlements in the Act. When the reply was in the negative, the court sought an explanation from the government on conducting Lok Adalats to settle appeals under RTI laws.

The court ordered for ad hoc appointments at this stage, after the government pleader Prakash Jani submitted that appointment of information commissioner requires constitution of a committee headed by the chief minister. This committee selects and finalizes names and then recommends them to the governor for her confirmation .

At present, the commission has three information commissioners including the chief information commissioner , and two posts are vacant.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Death no reason to acquit corrupt

For a person accused of corruption, even death offers no redemption, the Bombay high court has ruled. No leniency can be shown just because the accused has died, said Justice A P Bhangale. 

Twenty-three years after Balim Ghodki of Nagpur was convicted of corruption charges and over a decade after his death, the high court refused to show him any sympathy. Ghodki's wife and five daughters had urged the court to give him the benefit of doubt and clear his name so that they could avail of his employment benefits. 

Ghodki was working as an industrial supervisor with the Khadi Gram Udyog Bank. He was caught red-handed in 1988 while accepting a bribe of Rs 50 to sanction a loan of Rs 25,000. In 1989, a sessions court convicted him under the Prevention of Corruption Act and sentenced him to six months jail. He went in appeal, but died during its pendency. In 2001, his family moved the court for his acquittal. 

"Courts cannot be swayed by sympathy, emotions or moral approach when in the facts and circumstances of the case no benefit of doubt can be granted (to an accused)," said Justice Bhangale. "Wrong acquittal will send a wrong signal to the society as corruption if proved, does not deserve leniency or sympathy," he said. 

Ghodki's family cited a 2005 Supreme Court ruling wherein a deceased accused was acquitted giving him "benefit of doubt". But the HC refused. "The court cannot apply a blanket formula to acquit the accused by giving him the benefit of doubt for the reason that the legal heirs would be benefited." 

Legal aid is a right of an accused, rules apex court

The Supreme Court has said that an accused getting free legal aid was a matter of right and no distinction could be made in upholding this right irrespective of whether the legal aid sought was for the trial or an appeal against an adverse verdict.
“We are of the opinion that neither the Constitution nor the Legal Services Authorities Act makes any distinction between a trial and an appeal for the purposes of providing free legal aid to an accused or a person in custody,” said a bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Madan B. Lokur in their judgment Thursday, but made available Friday.
Pronouncing the judgment, Justice Lokur said that the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, provides, inter alia, that “every person who has to file or defend a case shall be entitled to legal services, if he or she is in custody”.
Section 13 of the act provides that persons meeting the criteria laid down in Section 12 will be entitled to legal services provided the concerned authority is satisfied that such person has a prima facie case to prosecute or defend, the judgment noted.
The judgment came as the court set aside a Sep 5, 2006 judgment and order of Madhya Pradesh High Court and sent back the case to it for rehearing of the appeal as one of the accused, Rajoo, was not represented by a lawyer.
While saying so, the apex court relied on its earlier judgments wherein it was said that the right to be represented by a lawyer was a constitutional right of every accused person who is unable to engage a lawyer on account of poverty, indigence or incommunicado situation and the state was mandated to provide a lawyer to such an accused.
The court also expressed its disagreement with observation in one of its earlier judgments wherein it sought to deny the free legal aid to the accused in cases of economic offences or offences against law prohibiting prostitution or child abuse and so on.
“We have some reservations whether such exceptions can be carved out particularly keeping in mind the constitutional mandate and the universally accepted principle that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” it said.
“If such exceptions are accepted, there may be a tendency to add some more, such as in cases of terrorism thereby diluting the constitutional mandate and the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution,” it cautioned.
The judgment said that apex court had taken a “rather pro-active role in the matter of providing free legal assistance to persons accused of an offence or convicted of an offence.”
The court referred to the recent verdict of New Zealand’s Court of Appeal where in it said that “the right of a fair trial is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights Act and it is an absolute right. A fundamental feature of a fair trial is a right to legal representation under the Bill of Rights Act.”
Asking the Madhya Pradesh High Court to rehear the matter, the apex court said: “We are also of the view that the high court was under an obligation to enquire from Rajoo whether he required legal assistance and if he did, it should have been provided to him at state expense.”
Since the record of the case does not indicate any such endeavour having been made by the high court, this case ought to be re-heard by it after providing Rajoo an opportunity of obtaining legal representation, ruled the apex court.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

HC notice to private hospitals on contempt of court

The Delhi High Court today sought a response from some reputed private hospitals, including Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital, of the city for their failure to comply with its previous order to give free treatment to the poor patients .

 A bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notices to 12 private hospitals, including Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital and St Stephen’s Hospital, and sought their replies by August 30 on a plea seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against them for their failure to comply with the court’s March 22, 2007, order.

 While dealing with a PIL, the high court had in 2007 ordered that “all private hospitals to whom public land has been allotted on concessional rates are obliged to provide free treatment to the extent of 25 percent OPD and 10 percent IPD to patients belonging to EWS category”.

 The petitioner Social Jurist, an NGO, had filed the plea through counsel Ashok Aggarwal and sought a direction to hospitals to follow the lease deed conditions of reserving 25 percent beds for the patients from economically weaker section (EWS) of the society.

 According to the PIL, several private hospitals in the city have obtained government land at throw away prices with a condition to provide free treatment to poor patients but they never fulfilled their promise.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Supreme court has quashed 1986 land acquisition deed

The Supreme court has quashed the acquisition of land of two industrial units in Dehradun by the Uttar Pradesh government in 1986 on grounds of urgency.

 A bench of justices G S Singhvi and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla annulled the acquisition, saying the state government has failed to produce any material to show that invoking of the urgency clause of the Land Acquisition Act for acquiring the land was bonafide.The bench set aside an order of the Allahabad High Court, which had upheld the acquisition.

“In our opinion the acquisition of the appellants’ land is liable to be quashed because the respondents have not produced any material to show that the state government had formed a bonafide opinion on the issue of invoking the provisions contained in section 17 of the Act”. ”In the result, the appeal is allowed, the impugned order is set aside and the acquisition of the appellants’ land is quashed,” the bench said.

 The apex court’s order came on the plea of Garg Woollen Pvt Ltd and Everest Cylinders Pvt Ltd, against the September 1997 order of the high court which had dismissed their petition seeking quashing of the acquisition of their land.

 Advocate Anil Karnwal, appearing for the companies, had contended before the apex court that there was no urgent need to acquire the land and it was done without giving them an opportunity to voice their objections.

 The Uttar Pradesh government had issued a notification in May, 1985 for it under the Land Acquisition Act to acquire over 250 acres of land in Dehradun for the purpose of developing it into an industrial area.

 The land was acquired on the basis of an order passed by the Special Land Acquisition Collector in November, 1986.

 The appellants had claimed to have purchased the land in 1984, where they had set up their industrial units by 1985 after availing huge loans.

 The apex court allowed their appeal after drawing similarities between the appellants’ case and its recent order quashing the acquisition of farmers’ land in Gautam Budh Nagar area by the Uttar Pradesh government.

Remove tinted glasses on vehicles or face action: SC warns police

The Supreme Court today warned the Director Generals of Police and Commissioners of Police in all the states and union territories of contempt action if they fail to take action on use of tinted glasses in vehicles.
A bench of justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar asked the police machinery in the country to not only challan the offending vehicles but also to take forthwith measures to remove materials pasted on safety glasses by vehicle users.
"We are not emphasising on security threat to nation but it is a clear violation of law. No material can be pasted on safety glasses, this law needs to be enforced.
"DGPs/CPs to ensure complete compliance in true letter and substance. At this stage we will not initiate any action on the DGPs and other officials but issue a clear warning that in case of non-compliance the court shall be compelled to initiate appropriate action under the contempt of courts act without any notice," Justice Kumar said.
On July 22, the Supreme court had expressed its dissatisfaction over tardy implementation of its directions banning the use of tinted films on car windows, beyond a permissible limit, in Delhi.
The bench had said that the roads of the national capital still had numerous cars with heavily tinted windows and windscreens and that the users or owners of such vehicles, often involved in accidents, go scot-free.
The court had also noted that most of these vehicles were being used by VIPs enjoying Z-category security.
The bench had observed that the VIPs, who were permitted to use tinted film on their vehicles but only as per due procedure, were exploiting the relaxation granted to them.
The apex court's observations came while hearing a batch of petitions filed by sun film manufacturers association and others seeking clarification as well as modification of the apex court's order banning the use of tinted glass on vehicle windowpanes.
Concerned over rising instances of criminals using black films on windscreens and side glasses of four wheelers, the apex court had directed the states and the Union territories to strictly enforce the ban on use of tint beyond the limit permitted.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia had on April 27 said that manufacturers may produce vehicles with tinted glasses which provide for 70 per cent Visual Light Transmission (VLT) for safety glasses on front and rear windscreen and 40 per cent VLT for side glasses.
The directions had come into effect and were enforceable from May 4.
The apex court, however, at that time had given liberty to the police officers concerned to grant exemption to VVIPs like those enjoying "Z" and "Z plus" category security.
The court's verdict had come on a PIL filed by one Avisekh Goenka seeking total ban on all forms of tinted glasses used in four wheelers.
The court, while granting the exemption to VVIPs and others facing threat perceptions, had said, "The cases of the persons who have been provided with Z and Z+ security category may be considered by a committee consisting of the director general of police/commissioner of police of the concerned state and the home secretary of that state/Centre.
The bench had advised that "certificates should be provided only in relation to official cars of VIPs/VVIPs, depending upon the category of security that such person has been awarded by the competent authority."

Permanent Lok Adalat valid, its decision binding: SC

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of setting up of Permanent Lok Adalat and making its decisions binding on parties with the provision that they cannot be challenged in courts.

 A bench of justices R M Lodha and Anil R Dave justified setting up of such bodies on the lines of Lok Adalat for resolving disputes over public utility services saying “with increasing number of cases, the judicial courts are not able to cope with the heavy burden of inflow of cases and the matters coming before them.”

 ”With large population in the country and many public utility services being provided by various service providers, the disputes in relation to these services are not infrequent between the service providers and common man. Slow motion procedures in the judicial courts are not conducive for adjudication of disputes relating to public utility service,” the bench said.

 ”Parliament can definitely set up effective alternative institutional mechanisms or make arrangements which may be more efficacious than the ordinary mechanism of adjudication of disputes through judicial courts.

 ”Such institutional mechanisms or arrangements by no stretch of imagination can be said to be contrary to the constitutional scheme or against the rule of law,” the bench said.

 The court passed the order on a petition filed by the Bar Council of India challenging the amendment in Legal Service Authority Act for setting up Permanent Lok Adalat whose decision was made binding on the parties and cannot be challenged in courts.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Provide minimum punishment for rash, negligent driving: Supreme Court judge

Justice P Sathasivam was concerned by the very high rate of fatal accidents in India and said if a minimum sentence was not provided, as was prescribed in the Prevention of Corruption Act for various malpractices by public servants, the culprits would escape the rigours of law by paying the fine amount. 

"In order to curb the number of accidents by rash and negligent driving by use of motor vehicles, it is desired that minimum sentence shall be prescribed otherwise by payment of fine, it would be open for the culprits to escape from the clutches of law," Justice Sathasivam said while speaking at the Bone and Joint Day function organized by Indian Spinal Injuries Centre. 

He said this was urgently needed as India had the dubious distinction of having the worst record for road safety in India. "I was alarmed at the statistics provided. In India 120,000 people die and 127,000 sustain injuries every year in road accidents. Also as per the statistics, there is one death on the Indian roads every six minutes and this is expected to escalate to one death every three minutes," Justice Sathasivam said. 

Moreover, India had only 1% of vehicles registered world over, but accounted for 9% of the fatal road accidents, he said. "World Health Organization has revealed in its first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety (2009) that more people die in road accidents in India than anywhere else in the world, including the more populous China," the apex court Judge said. 

On Friday, the Supreme Court — though issued strictures Nanda for his insensitiveness towards injured victims — did not impose any additional sentence while asking him to pay an additional fine of Rs 50 lakh that would be utilized for compensating victims of highway accidents caused by untraceable vehicles. It had also asked him to do community service for two more years. 

Justice Sathasivam on Saturday said the judiciary has taken note of the galloping trend of road accidents in India and its devastating consequences. "The courts have always taken a very strict view on the sentencing policy," he said. 

Citing judgments of the apex court, he said a professional driver should not take chance thinking that even if he was convicted for rash and negligent driving; he would be dealt with leniently by the court. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

BMW hit-and-run case: No extra jail term for Sanjeev Nanda, SC directs him to pay Rs 50 lakh to Centre

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the conviction of Sanjeev Nanda in 1999 BMW hit-and-run case.

The apex court convicted Sanjeev Nanda under Section 304-II of IPC for the 1999 BMW hit-and-run case but did not enhance his sentence from 2 years imposed by the Delhi high court.

The trial court had sentenced Sanjeev Nanda to 5 years jail term.

The SC also imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh on Nanda and said this money would be utilised for payment of compensation to highway hit-and-run accident victims.

The apex court said if Nanda does not pay the fine, he would undergo a sentence of one more year. If he pays the fine, Nanda will not go to jail again as he has already served the 2-year sentence.

The apex court criticised Sanjeev Nanda's conduct of not taking injured to hospital and ordered him to do 2-year more community service under supervision of the ministry of welfare. The SC said that during and after the accident in which 6 persons were killed, Nanda showed utter lack of sensitivity towards the injured.

The SC gave 6 months to Nanda to pay up Re 50 lakh which would be utilised for road accident victims where the offending vehicle is not identified.