Sunday, January 31, 2016

Plea filed in Supreme Court against new juvenile law

A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the recently-passed juvenile law that allows delinquent minors of 16 years of age and above to be tried as adults if they commit heinous offences like rape and murder.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, cleared in the winter session of Parliament, repeals and recasts the old Act.

The PIL, filed by Congress leader and activist Tahseen Poonawalla, said that the new law is unreasonable, arbitrary and in violation of Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution.

It challenges section 15 of the new Act which says in case of a heinous offence alleged to have been committed by a child, who has completed or is above the age of 16 years, the Juvenile Justice Board shall conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether a juvenile offender is to be sent for rehabilitation or be tried as an adult.

The plea said the impugned amended Act is “draconian and unconstitutional” which instead of providing care and protection to children deems them as adult in cases where the alleged commission of crime by them is heinous in nature.

It further said that the amendment goes against the letter and spirit of The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and is against the protection accorded to Child and adolescent criminals since 1800s.

On January 4, the President of India has accorded his assent to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

The Act also allows that any 16-18-year-old who commits a less serious offence may be tried as an adult only if he is apprehended after the age of 21 years.

As soon as a child alleged to be in conflict with the law is apprehended by police, such a child shall be placed under the charge of the special juvenile police unit or the designated child welfare police officer who shall produce the child before the Juvenile Justice Board without any loss of time but within a period of 24 hours of apprehending the child.

Ex-Allahabad HC judge to investigate Rohith death

The judicial commission announced by the HRD Ministry to probe circumstances that led to Rohith Vemula’s suicide at Hyderabad Central University (HCU) will be headed by retired Allahabad High Court judge Justice Ashok K Roopanwal. Sources said the one-member panel will be tasked with probing the sequence of events that led to Vemula’s death and fixing responsibility.

The ministry had announced a judicial probe last week after its fact-finding committee held the university responsible for Vemula’s suicide. The panel had also reported that students felt discriminated on campus.

Last November, HCU’s executive council had expelled five students, all Dalits, from the hostel. The students were punished for allegedly assaulting an ABVP student leader. The issue snowballed into a political storm after Vemula committed suicide on January 17.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Indian Maoist leader jailed for 23 years in UK for raping followers

Aravindan Balakrishnan, a 75-year-old Indian-origin man who ran a secretive extremist Maoist cult here, was today sentenced to 23 years in jail by a UK court for a string of sexual assaults, rape, and imprisonment of his own daughter for three decades.

Balakrishnan, known to his followers as Comrade Bala, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court in London for six counts of indecent assault, four counts of rape and two counts of actual bodily harm.

He had been convicted following a jury trial in December last year where it emerged that he had kept his daughter in captivity for over 30 years of her life.

The 33-year-old daughter, who said she had been a "non- person" throughout her life, today choose a new identity for herself and described her situation as "horrible, dehumanising and degrading".

Katy Morgan-Davies, a new name of her choosing, told the BBC, "I felt like a caged bird with clipped wings. The people he looked up to were people like Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein - you couldn't criticise them either in the house. They were his gods and his heroes. These were the sort of people he wanted to emulate".

She had told the court she was beaten and banned from singing nursery rhymes, going to school or making friends.

Sentencing Balakrishnan, the judge said, "You decided to treat her as a project, not a person. You claimed to do it for her to protect her from the outside world, but you created a cruel environment".

The judge also recommended a donation of 500 pounds to Palm Cove Society charity which helped Morgan-Davies escape.

Balakrishnan's wife, Chanda, who had lived with him as part of the Workers' Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought for nearly 30 years had claimed earlier this week that his conviction was a "frame-up".

She had been unaware that her husband had fathered a daughter with his devoted follower Sian Davies and kept her confined in a London flat for years, spending her entire life until the age of 30 effectively imprisoned in the commune ruled by her father.

Balakrishnan had denied charges of rape and told the jury that he was "the focus of competition" between "jealous" women who made sexual advances towards him.

The sentencing ends an over two-year police investigation into a case which Scotland Yard detectives described as "completely unique".

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Michael Wilshaw writes to all inspectors instructing them to mark down institutions where they believe the veil 'hinders learning' and 'social interaction'

Schools will be marked down by Ofsted for the first time if inspectors judge that wearing the veil – by students or teachers – is a "barrier to learning". 

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the chief inspector, has on Tuesday written to all inspectors instructing them to mark down institutions where they believe the veil hinders "positive social interaction". 

He said that people need to listen to David Cameron’s concerns that “our liberal values, our liberal West values, are protected”. The new rules will affect around 16,000 children and just under 1,000 teachers who currently wear the veil to school. 

Mr Cameron said that he will give his backing to public authorities that put in place “proper and sensible” rules to ban women from wearing face veils in comments which will reignite debates. 

The Government is preparing to announce a series of measures designed to stop British Muslims becoming radicalised and traveling to the Middle East to join terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Delhi HC restrains 200+ websites from illegally showing Balaji's 'Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3'

The Delhi High Court has restrained around 203 websites from streaming, broadcasting or providing online access to Balaji Motion Pictures’ recently released film Kyaa Kool Hain Hum 3.

Passing the restraint order, the court said the production company Balaji Motion Pictures is “entitled to get protection under the Copyright Act.”
Balaji Motion Pictures had approached the High Court contending that 203 websites, local cable operators and others should be restrained from making available or showing, uploading, downloading or exhibiting the movie in any manner without proper licence from the producers.
Accepting the plea, Justice Vipin Sanghi issued notice to 300 defendants including websites and local cable operators and directed them to comply with the order restraining all of them from providing “online access in any manner.” The matter has been listed for 5 May.
Besides restraining the websites from providing access to the film, the court also directed various Internet Service Providers (ISP), Department of Telecommunications and Department of Information Technology to ensure compliance by blocking access to all the 203 websites identified by the producers.
In the Delhi High Court, Balaji counsel Abhishek Malhotra said the film cannot be viewed on any device or broadcast on any platform through Internet without their permission.
He said the cause of action arose after he received information that the defendants and unknown persons were engaged in rampant piracy and abuse of copyright in respect of various other works including the film.
“They are likely to indulge in unlicensed and unauthorised exploitation of the film merely a week ahead,” the counsel contended.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court has issued notices to the producers, director and writers of the film and sought a response to a public interest litigation seeking a ban on it for allegedly vulgar content.
The division bench of Justices N H Patil and G S Kulkarni said they will hear the petition next week but reprimanded the petitioner Zuber Khan for moving the court late as the film had already been released. The petition claimed the film is vulgar and against the culture and ethos of the country. “In the trailer, the film is said to be India's first Porn comedy. The posters are vulgar with semi-nude photos,” it says. The court issued notices to the producers Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor, director Umesh Ghadge and writers Milap Zaveri and Mustaq Shaikh apart from the Censor Board and the Maharashtra government.
Khan said he would amend the petition and also seek a ban on another such film, Mastizaadefeaturing Sunny Leone amongst others, which is scheduled to release next week.
Released on 22 January, the film stars Tusshar Kapoor and Aftab Shivdasani in the lead along with Mandana Karimi, Gizele Thakral, Claudia Ciesla, Krishna Abhishek, Shakti Kapoor and Darshan Jariwala.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

refuses to stay contempt notice of HC against Arundhati Roy

The Supreme Court on Friday, Jan 22 refused to stay a criminal contempt notice issued by the Bombay High Court against author Arundhati Roy for her article in a weekly magazine questioning the continued incarceration of Delhi University professor G N Saibaba.

The apex court also did not give her any relief from personal exemption from appearance before a single judge of the Nagpur Bench of the high court on January 25.

While asking her to appear on Monday, the bench issued notice to the respondents on her petition challenging the high court' order.

When senior advocate Chander Uday Singh, appearing for the writer, sought stay on her personal appearance, contending that the passion has beefed up and effigies are burnt, the court said it was passing the order after carefully considering the matter.

"You should have no fear in appearing in court. You go and appear. We are here. We have issued the process and we are looking into it. We have thought about it carefully," the bench comprising Justice J S Khehar and Justice C Nagappan said.When the counsel once again sought for personal exemption on Monday, the bench said, "We don't want to grant you or deny you."

The Bombay High Court had on December 23, 2015 issued the contempt notice against the author, for her views on the arrest of Saibaba and the rejection of his bail plea early last year.

Gadchiroli Police had arrested Saibaba in 2014 for his alleged links with Maoists. He has been on bail since June last year. Roy had expressed her views on the arrest in an article published in a weekly magazine last year.

Friday, January 22, 2016

No stay on release of Kya Kool Hain Hum 3, HC, Petitioner to now seek a ban on 'Mastizaade'

The Bombay high court on Friday rejected the plea to stay the release of the movie 'Kya Kool Hai Hum 3' and rapped the petitoner for approaching the court at the "eleventh hour". Hearing a petition filed by city resident Zubair Khan seeking a ban on the adult comedy, a division bench headed by Naresh Patil, however, issued notices to the film's director and the censor board.

With the HC not granting any interim relief, Khan has now turned the focus on the the Sunny Leone starrer 'Mastizaade' that is slated to hit the screens on January 29. The petitioner sought permission to add a plea seeking a ban Mastizaade. 'KKHH3' star actors Tusshar Kapoor, Aftab Shivdasani and Mandana Karimi in lead roles. The petitioner cited the trailer of the movie to claim that it promoted "vulgarity and obscenity". The HC questioned the petitioner for the delay in approaching the court as the movie was already released earlier in the day.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Woman faces jail for tagging sister-in-law on Faceboook - US

An American woman is facing a year in jail for tagging and calling her former sister-in-law "stupid" in a Facebook post after she was prohibited from contacting her ex-husband's family by a court order. New York-based Maria Gonzalez, who was banned from contacting Maribel Calderon after her divorce from Maribel's brother Rafael Calderon, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt for the alleged post. Gonzalez is accused of calling Maribel "stupid" in the post and saying, "You and your family are sad ... You guys have to come stronger than that!! I'm way over you guys but I guess not in ya agenda." Gonzalez tried to argue that the protection order "did not specifically prohibit (her) from Facebook communication" with her Maribel. Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci disagreed, saying, "The order of protection prohibited the defendant from contacting the protected party by electronic or any other means," New York Post reported. "The allegations that she contacted the victim by tagging her in a Facebook posting which the victim was notified of is thus sufficient for pleading purposes to establish a violation of the order of protection," the judge ordered. Manhattan matrimonial attorney Michael Stutman, who isn't part of the case, said the ruling proves his client adage, "Everything you post anywhere can possibly be used.

Court accepts plea against Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan for wearing shoes in temple

“A scene with Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan inside a Kali temple on the sets of TV reality show ‘Bigg Boss’ was broadcast by Colors channel in December last year,” Bharat Rajput, president of Hindu Mahasabha’s Meerut unit said.

A local court accepted a plea by Hindu Mahasabha against Bollywood superstars Salman KhanShah Rukh Khan and a private TV channel for purportedly showing the actors inside a temple wearing shoes during a reality show.

The court has fixed the date for hearing on January 18.

“A scene with Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan inside a Kali temple on the sets of TV reality show ‘Bigg Boss’ was broadcast by Colors channel in December last year,” Bharat Rajput, president of Hindu Mahasabha’s Meerut unit said.

Rajput said that he had written a letter to the SSP and the District Magistrate of Meerut on December 23 and also sent an email to the channel over the issue.

He alleged that no one should enter any religious places with their shoes and airing it on TV was insensitive as it hurt people’s religious sentiment.

Rajput said, when the channel didn’t respond and the administration or the police didn’t take steps over the issue, a petition was filed at the court of CJM Sanjay Kumar Singh against the channel, the programme’s director and also Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan. And 

Friday, January 15, 2016

India has largest diaspora population in world, UN report says

India's diaspora population is the largest in the world with 16 million people from India living outside their country in 2015, according to a latest UN survey on international migrant trends.

The survey conducted by the UN department of economic and social affairs (DESA) said the number of international migrants — persons living in a country other than where they were born — reached 244 million in 2015 for the world as a whole, a 41 per cent increase compared to 2000.

Nearly two thirds of international migrants live in Europe (76 million) or Asia (75 million), according to the "Trends in International Migrant Stock".

"The rise in the number of international migrants reflects the increasing importance of international migration, which has become an integral part of our economies and societies," said Wu Hongbo, UN under secretary general for economic and social affairs.

"Well-managed migration brings important benefits to countries of origin and destination, as well as to migrants and their families," Hongbo added.

India has the largest diaspora in the world, followed by Mexico and Russia. In 2015, 16 million people from India were living outside of their country, a growth from 6.7 million in 1990, the survey stated.

Mexico's diaspora population stood at 12 million

UK sees massive fall in Indian student numbers

Nearly 14,000 fewer Indian students enrolled into a British university for higher education in 2014 compared to 2010.

In what is a massive blow to Britain's education sector, the number of Indian students fell by 10% between 2013 and 2014 alone.

According to the latest figures released on Friday, US is now sending more students to UK to study than India which has been pushed to third in the rankings.

In 2010 for example, the number of US students who enrolled in a British university was around 9650 while the number of Indian students who got admitted were around 23,970.

In 2014, the picture has changed drastically.

While the number of US students getting admission in a British university stood at 10,205, Indian student numbers had fallen to 10,125.

The figures have been described as "alarming" by the British Council.

The number of Chinese students coming to UK for higher education meanwhile increased from 44,805 in 2010 to 58,845 in 2014.

One of the reasons for this fall in Indian students has been UK's decision to scrap the post study work visa. PM Cameron has now said he will not re-introduce it.

Meanwhile Scotland which has been worst hit due to the scrapping of the visa is furious with the Cameron government.

A cross party Post Study Work Steering Group of the Scottish government has written to Cameron expressing their surprise and disappointment that a return of the post study work visa has been ruled out.

Ex-NMCE chief denied bail after son fails to return

Gujarat high court refused bail to former chairman of National Multicommodity Exchange of India Ltd (NMCE), Kailash Gupta because his son living in the US did not turn up to cooperate with investigators. Gupta is accused of committing fraud of Rs 28 crore on the company by involving his family members. His son, Amit, is also facing charges in the case and investigators, including Enforcement Directorate (ED), wanted to question him.

In 2014, Kailash Gupta was released on temporary bail by the Supreme Court. His regular bail was dependant on his fulfilling two conditions - paying back Rs 20 crore to the company and ensuring that his son returns from the US to face charges. Gupta surrendered after neither of these happened.

By the end of 2015, Gupta returned Rs 18.22 crore to the company and again sought bail. A city sessions court refused to interfere for lack of jurisdiction in the case as Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) had been invoked against him. The special court too denied him bail.

Housing projects without green nod illegal: SC

In a jolt to hundreds of builders who have completed housing projects without environment clearance, the Supreme Court on Friday termed such constructions illegal, conceding that it might have committed a mistake by previously staying a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order halting construction of these projects.

The NGT had struck down the UPA government's 'office memorandum' (order) in 2012 and the amendment to it in 2013, which had condoned construction carried out by builders without obtaining prior environment clearance.

The NGT had termed the office orders illegal and imposed a penalty of Rs 76.19 crore on seven private builders in Tamil Nadu for raising housing complexes without environment clearance. But the apex court later stayed the NGT order and allowed builders to carry on with construction activity despite not having green clearance.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Boss offers Viagra tablet to employee after she complains of headache- Banglore

In a shocking news, a 22-year-old woman was reportedly offered a Viagra tablet by her boss after she complained of severe headache. When the employee sought permission to go buy medicine for her headache, the boss offered her a Viagra tablet.

The woman works at a finance firm as a data processor and has reportedly filed a complaint with the police. She has also made harassment charges against the manager, Mallappa, says the report. 

In her complaint, the woman has reportedly said that the Mallappa would touch her inappropriately when there were no employees. She has also said that he made a marriage proposal to her despite being married himself. He even made sexual favours to her several times, the report adds.

But she reportedly put up with Mallappa's harassment since she needed the job.

SC refuses to hear a plea challenging 'odd-even' scheme in Delhi

day before the 'odd-even' scheme ends in Delhi, the Supreme Court has lent support to the scheme and has refused to hear a plea challenging it. 

Terming the plea as a publicity stunt, the apex court has said that the 'odd-even' policy is being implemented for the citizens of Delhi and that everyone must cooperate with it. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court gave a go-ahead to implement the scheme as per the AAP government's plan till January 15.

The government is taking some step to control the pollution. People are dying due to pollution and you are challenging it for publicity," the bench, also comprising justices AK Sikri and R Banumathi, said.

The CJI also said that even judges are doing car pooling and such type of petitions are meant to frustrate the effort, it said, adding that it may impose "heavy cost".

"You see, we are doing car pooling, but you are not helping," the court said.

The court, however, said that it will ask authorities like DMRC to augment public transport system to ensure that the public does not face difficulty.

In December, 2015, the apex court had passed a slew of directions to curb pollution levels in the national capital, including ban on registration of diesel-run sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and high-end private cars with engine capacity of 2000 CC and above in Delhi and National Capital Region till March 31, 2016.

It had also directed 100 per cent hike of the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) being levied on light and heavy commercial vehicles entering Delhi, saying that its directions were aimed at "mitigating hardship" of residents of Delhi "that has earned to it the dubious reputation of being the most polluted city in the world."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Supreme Court refuses to lift ban on jallikattu

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a petition to allow jallikattu. 

The top court refused to vacate its order passed on Tuesday staying the Centre's notification lifting ban on the bull-taming sport. 

During the hearing, the jallikattu supporters told the court that colonial law should not be allowed to regulate culture.

However, the apex court said it saw no reason to modify its order. 

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday stayed a central government notification allowing bull-taming and bullock cart racing.

Florida Death penalty system is unconstitutional: US Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Florida's system for sentencing people to death is unconstitutional because it gives too much power to judges -- and not enough to juries -- to decide capital sentences. 

The 8-1 ruling said that the state's sentencing procedure is flawed because juries play only an advisory role in recommending death while the judge can reach a different decision. 

The court sided with Timothy Lee Hurst, who was convicted of the 1998 murder of his manager at a Popeye's restaurant in Pensacola. A jury divided 7-5 in favor of death, but a judge imposed the sentence. 

Florida's solicitor general argued that the system was acceptable because a jury first decides if the defendant is eligible for the death penalty. 

Writing for the court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said a jury's "mere recommendation is not enough." She said the court was overruling previous decisions upholding the state's sentencing process. 

"The Sixth Amendment requires a jury, not a judge, to find each fact necessary to impose a sentence of death," Sotomayor said. 

The justices sent the case back to the Florida Supreme Court to determine whether the error in sentencing Hurst was harmless, or whether he should get a new sentencing hearing. 

Justice Samuel Alito dissented, saying that the trial judge in Florida simply performs a reviewing function that duplicates what the jury has done. 

Under Florida law, the state requires juries in capital sentencing hearings to weigh factors for and against imposing a death sentence. But the judge is not bound by those findings and can reach a different conclusion. The judge can also weigh other factors independently. So a jury could base its decision on one particular aggravating factor, but a judge could then rely on a different factor the jury never considered. 

CBI finds AIIMS head guilty of committing irregularities in purchase of medical supplies

CBI finds AIIMS head guilty of committing irregularities in purchase of medical supplies - The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a verification report, finding the director and a senior doctor of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) responsible for irregularities in purchase of medical supplies for the prestigious institute.

The CBI has written to the chief vigilance officer, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, that AIIMS might take action against Dr MC Misra, the head of department, Surgery at Apex Trauma Centre AIIMS, and Dr Amit Gupta, additional professor, in view of the verification report.

Then CVO of AIIMS Sanjiv Chaturvedi had alleged criminal misconduct by Assistance Store Officer TR Mahajan at JPNA Trauma Centre, AIIMS, and Dr Amit Gupta in purchase of two items, disinfectants and fogging solution, from firms whose sole distributor was a company owned by the son and daughter-in-law of the store officer.

These items were not proprietary in nature but they were purchased by bypassing the General Financial Rules (GFR) provisions and invoking the provisions relating to proprietary items, according to the complaint.

According to the verification report, Dr Gupta signed the propriety certificate dated 14/3/13 in respect of Ultrasan Aerox Fogging Solution and another proprietary certificate dated 6/11/12 in respect to Cleanex Floor Disinfectant, however, these certificates which were initially for one-time purchase, were repeatedly used by the store officer for placing repeat orders without going through any tendering process.

The CBI also observed lapses during the verification on part of Dr Gupta and Dr Misra in addition to the misconduct done by the store officer.

As per the report, Dr Gupta declared Aerox Fogging Solution and Cleanex Floor Disinfectant, products of Aspetix Netherlands as proprietary in nature in an ad hoc manner without adequate care and purchases were made despite existing rate contract of the main hospital.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Jallikattu put on hold by Supreme Court ahead of Pongal

The Supreme Court on 12/01/16 put Jallikattu on hold, days after the Centre allowed the traditional bull-taming sport in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra ahead of the Pongal festival.

The top court also issued notices to the Centre and other states asking them to file their responses in four weeks to petitions challenging the central government's notification allowing Jallikattu and bullock-cart races.

The central government, in a gazette notification last week, removed bulls from the list of animals that are banned from public display, thereby allowing the traditional sport during Pongal. This allowed bulls to be exhibited as performing animals at Jallikattu and bullock-cart races in Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and Punjab.

In fact, the Supreme Court had banned Jallikattu once before, in May 2014, saying bulls could not be used as performing animals, either for Jallikattu or for bullock-cart races.

The apex court acted on a petition filed by the Animal Welfare Board, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and almost a dozen other NGOs working on animal rights, who had challenged the Centre's lifting of the ban in poll-bound Tamil Nadu

After Justice R Bhanumati recused herself from hearing the Jallikattu matter, the arguments in the Supreme Court on Tuesday were heard by another bench headed by Justice Dipak Mishra.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Get tough on drunk driving, change law: Bombay HC to Centre

 The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the Centre to consider adopting a "zero tolerance policy" towards drunk driving and make appropriate changes in the law.

Observing that "too many lives had been lost" to the "lethal cocktail" of drinking and driving, a division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Gautam Patel recommended action against those driving under the influence irrespective of the amount of alcohol in blood. At present, motorists with alcohol exceeding 30mg per 100ml of blood are liable to be charged under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

"We find nothing to suggest that some quantity of alcohol in the blood can be considered 'safe'," said the judges, adding that there was no fundamental right to drink. The HC also asked the state government to direct the police and transport authorities to immediately suspend driving licences of persons against whom DUI cases are registered. Driving licences are being suspended for three months for drunk driving since January 1 in the city.

Calling the permissible alcohol limits prescribed in the law as theoretical, the judges added: "There is, in fact, no reason why any person who has had any amount to drink should be permitted to drive at all. Given the alternatives available, and having regard to the manifest risks especially to third parties, we would strenuously urge the adoption by the Central government of a zero tolerance policy toward drunk driving."

The high court said there was no fundamental right to drink, "let alone to drink any amount and then get behind the wheel of a motor car or on to a two-wheeler. Even the most minute impairment caused by alcohol intake might have the most disastrous consequences".

Gujarat HC rejects petition of judicial officer for reinstatement, quashing probe

Gujarat High Court has dismissed the petition of a suspended principal civil judge who had sought reinstatement and quashing of the departmental inquiry against him.

The judicial officer was suspended following allegations of sexual advancements, seeking sexual favours from women and corruption. A chargesheet was filed against him in June 2012.

The division bench of Justices Akil Kureshi and Mohinder Pal last month dismissed the petition moved by Dipak N Tapodhan, who was working as principal civil judge when allegations cropped up against him.

After the order dismissing his reinstatement petition was passed on December 10, the suspended judicial officer filed another plea seeking to modify the earlier petition, but it was too rejected on December 23. Tapodhan sought quashing of the inquiry against him on the ground that it was initiated upon by an “anonymous and pseudonymous complaint”. He argued that such complaints should not have been entertained by the High Court administration. The petitioner mentioned that action of the High Court and subsequent chargesheet were “illegal”, as being a judicial officer he should have been protected by the High Court against “frivolous complaints”. While dismissing the petition, the division bench brushed aside this contention, stating, “…Unless it is pointed out that the allegations are ex-facie (on the face of it) baseless and not supported by any material on record, chargesheet cannot be quashed. This was not even the contention of the advocate of the petitioner.” The petitioner also sought relief based on a circular of the High Court in January 2015, which stated that action against a judicial officer would be taken only after the complaint was submitted with a duly sworn affidavit and verifiable material to substantiate the allegations. The bench, however, did not consider this point, since the case against the petitioner was lodged in 2012. The order mentioned the charges against Tapodhan, which included his close association with a woman (name withheld) and frequent telephone calls to her for purpose other than judicial and passing lenient sentence to another woman in “order to save her”. It was also alleged that he “misused of the authority as a judicial officer by using a vehicle belonging to a police constable” and “decreed the a suit within a period of 21 days on receiving sexual favour from daughter of plaintiff.” The order stated, “This act of yours, if proved, would amount to a misconduct as also a conduct unbecoming of a Judicial Officer.” Besides, there are multiple complaints against Tapodhan related to alleged sexual advancements toward women who were working in the court, and also women whose cases were pending in his court. “Perusal of the charges would demonstrate that there are serious allegations of misconduct and misbehaviour against the petitioner. At this stage it is not possible to judge validity or otherwise of the charges. When the inquiry is in progress, it is not the task of the Court to go into the truth or otherwise of the allegations levelled against the petitioner. As noted, the sole ground pressed in service for quashing the chargesheet is that the inquiry was instituted upon anonymous and pseudonymous complaints which, at the outset, has not been verified and, in any case, by virtue of the said Circular dated 19.01.2015 would be rendered invalid,” the order stated. 

BHU sacks Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey

Social activist and Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey has been sacked by the Banaras Hindu University on charges of being a “Naxalite”, engaging in “anti-national” activities and screening a banned documentary on the campus.

Mr. Pandey has taught at the prestigious central varsity for the past two-and-a-half years. He was a Visiting Faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering of the IIT-BHU and his contract was to end in July. 

Though the termination order does not state any reason, Mr. Pandey says it was preceded by a discussion with the top administration. He alleges that the decision to remove him was forced upon IIT-BHU Director Rajeev Sangal by Vice-Chancellor G.C. Tripathi and Dean of Faculty Affairs, IIT-BHU, Dhananjay Pandey, who he claimed were “associated with the RSS.”

“All these charges are baseless,” Mr. Pandey told The Hindu. “If I am guilty of anti-national activities, why don’t you lodge an FIR and send me to jail?” he asked. “I wish to clarify that I’m not a naxalite. The ideology that I would consider myself closest to is Gandhian.”

Mr. Pandey had earlier led an agitation on the campus demanding that 40 employees whose contracts were terminated be made permanent. 

“Is it illegal to support people who have lost their jobs? All I did was fight against human rights violation,” he said. The employees were reinstated after Mr. Pandey’s protest. 

Mr. Pandey said the banned BBC documentary on Nirbhaya was to be screened in the development studies class, but the VC had intervened to stop it. “A discussion on the issue of violence against women was conducted after screening another documentary,” he said.

BHU spokesperson Rajesh Singh said Mr. Pandey’s contract was terminated taking into view “several representations received by the administration.” 

“He was involved in anti-administration activities and spoiled the academic atmosphere of the university,” Mr. Singh said. 

Mr. Pandey, however, found it odd that the institution “did not authenticate the veracity” of the complaint, which was based on a solitary news report in a local daily. 

Sources said Mr. Pandey could have been removed due to ideological differences. “BHU is an educational institute, not a political field where one comes to further the ideology of a party. He is known to advocate Communist ideology,” said a senior administrator on condition of anonymity.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Delhi private schools fume: ‘Decision unacceptable, this is vendetta by govt’

Lashing out at the government’s decision to scrap 62 criterion for nursery admissions as well as the management quota, private schools Wednesday accused it of acting out of “‘vendetta” and said such a move will only cause panic. Questioning the timing of the decision, Delhi Public Schools Management Association president R C Jain said, “This is vendetta on the part of the government because the schools refused to provide them with DTC buses during the odd-even scheme”. “The schools had submitted all the criteria by December 31. If the government had a problem, it could have informed us earlier..this is again going to put the whole system out of gear,” he added. 

“As far as the management quota is concerned, the matter is still in court. The courts have repeatedly given a decision in favour of schools..We fail to understand why the government had to do this when the process is underway..It will only create panic,” said Ashok Pandey, chairman, National Progressive Schools Conference. The National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) also spoke up against the move. “Instead of improving the quality of education in government schools, the government is constantly targeting private schools. The move is not acceptable… it’s going to create confusion among parents as the admission procedure is already on,” said Amit Chandra from NISA. Meanwhile, some activists hailed the government’s decision but wondered if the move could be justified in a court of law. “All these processes should have been completed before the admission process started because a change midway will trigger panic…,” said Khagesh Jha, an advocate in the Delhi High Court.

Mohali hospital under HC scanner over pact signed with private firm

Ivy Hospital in Mohali has come under the scanner of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Gurgaon firm to procure it a minimum number of patients within a particular time frame by organising medical camps in Nigeria.
Justice Rajan Gupta has questioned the “legality” of the MoU signed between the hospital and the firm, Pulse Med Tours, as the matter relates to providing medical facilities to people. “It is inexplicable how a mutual understanding can be entered into between the parties to procure patients; whether there would be an element of criminality involved on part of the private hospital as well,” held Justice Gupta.
As per the deal signed on May 20, 2014, the firm was supposed to hold medical camps in Lagos, Nigeria, “to assist in business development of Ivy Hospital”.
The MoU reads, “PMT (Pulse Med Tours) shall commit a minimum referral of 10 patients to Ivy requiring medical treatments averaging around 4,000 US dollars per patient. These patients could be generated through the medical camp or outside of it. The time frame for the referrals of aforementioned 10 patients would be six months from the late (sic) date to the medical camp”.
The MoU further reads, “Failure to provide the number of patients promised with complete information and material provided by PMT would accrue a refund of 50% less consultancy fee to the hospital”.
The MoU also mentions, “PMT will charge 15% as commission fee on the total invoiced value for the first 15 patients who get treated at the Ivy’s treatment centre irrespective of whether the patients are generated directly or indirectly from the medical camp. Further, it shall charge 25% commission for all subsequent referred patients”.
Appearing for the Punjab government, additional advocate general Shilesh Gupta informed the court that the state government had addressed a letter to the Medical Council of India (MCI) on December 7 highlighting the issue.
Gupta added that the case had now been placed before the chairman of MCI’s ethics committee to ascertain whether the MoU was against the ethics of the medical profession.
The case had reached the high court after Sumit Rustagi, managing partner of Pulse Med Tours, had approached the court seeking anticipatory bail after the Ivy Hospital authorities had registered an FIR against him.
The FIR was registered on August 27 last year at Mataur police station in Mohali for cheating and criminal breach of trust on the allegations that Rustagi had duped the hospital of Rs 9 lakh given to him as advance.
The hospital authorities had claimed that Rustagi’s firm neither referred any patient nor any medical camp was organised as scheduled between July 17 and July 20, 2014, at Gold Cross
Hospital in Nigeria. The Mohali district court had declined Rustagi bail on October 17 last year.
The state government now has to submit its reply in the court in January last week after receiving MCI’s response.

Bombay HC irked over govt inaction on PAN card to foreigner

Bombay HC irked over govt inaction on PAN card to foreigner
Taking serious note of a foreign national obtaining a PAN card by claiming to be an Indian citizen and using it to open two bank accounts, the Bombay High Court has summoned three senior Central government officials to appear before it on January 8 to show what action had been taken in the matter.
“This petition shows shocking inaction on the part of relevant departments of the Union of India…What is pointed out by this petition is that the 1st Respondent, who is a foreign national, has obtained a PAN card. Further he has opened accounts with two banks, namely, HSBC Bank and Bombay Mercantile Bank. He has also acquired properties in India,” noted a division bench in a recent order.
Sanjay Punmiya had filed a petition alleging that Faisal Essa Yosuf obtained a PAN card in his name and bank accounts were opened by him.
The HC, on earlier occasions, had asked respondents to hold an inquiry on how the PAN card was issued and take action but no steps were adopted, the bench noted and warned to issue contempt notices against the concerned officers if stern measures were not enforced.
The bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka, in a written order, directed a representative of Foreign Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Mumbai, a senior officer nominated by Joint Secretary (CPV), Ministry of External Affairs, and a senior officer nominated by Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Mumbai, to remain present in court on January 8 with the relevant documents to show action taken, pursuant to the order passed by the High Court on earlier occasions.
The bench also ordered that a report about an inquiry made on the issue shall also be submitted before the next date of hearing.
During a previous hearing on September 28 last year, government’s senior counsel had pointed out that visa was been granted to the first respondent which is valid till December 16, 2018.
“Various allegations have been levelled against the first respondent. It is stated that he has obtained a PAN card claiming to be an Indian national…All this calls for a very serious inquiry by the concerned department of the Union of India,” the HC noted in its order.
“The petitioner has done his job by pointing out the
alleged illegality committed by the first respondent. He is not expected to know the details of the departments which are obliged to look into the illegality,” the HC noted.
“It is the responsibility of the law department of the Union of India to ascertain which departments can look into the allegations made by petitioner and initiate appropriate legal action, if necessary,” the court observed.
The HC noted that under clause 3 of its order dated September 28, 2015, it had asked the appropriate department of the Centre to initiate an inquiry and submit a report to it. However, no such report has been filed. Besides, the HC order dated October 29, 2015, notes that the Central government has not taken any steps, said the bench.
The court also noted that the counsel appearing for the Union government had made a statement on October 1 that though he has addressed letters to various officers of the Central government, no response is received.
The HC had directed on October 1 that the concerned government departments shall hold an enquiry for ascertaining whether the first respondent has committed illegalities as alleged.
“If such illegalities are found, it is obvious that prompt action will have to be taken by the Union of India. If the court finds that the Union of India has not taken any action, serious view will have to be taken on the said default,” the HC had observed in the October 1 order.
During the hearing on December 17, the government counsel produced a letter written by the Centre to the respondents to take action as per the earlier orders of the HC. “Inspite of the letter, none of the respondents had any instructions on the compliance,” the HC further noted.
“In view of clause 6 of the order dated 29th October 2015, this is a fit case where contempt notices are required to be issued to the Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, the Joint Secretary (CPV) and FRRO, Mumbai,” observed the bench.
“Senior counsel Beni Chatterjee, appearing for the Union of India, states he will ensure that necessary action will be taken. Only in view of this assurance, we are not issuing any notice of contempt as of today,” the bench said.
However, the High Court asked the respondents to remain present on the next date of hearing on January 8.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust V.s R. Ramanathan and Ors -January 5, 2016


                         CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDCITON

                    CIVIL APPEAL NO.    12       OF 2016
              (Arising out of S.L.P. (Civil) No. 25788 of 2013)

Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust and Ors.  …Appellants
R. Ramanathan and Ors. ...Respondents

                               J U D G M E N T

Madan B. Lokur, J.

1.    Leave granted.
2.    The dispute that has arisen in this appeal is one that could have  and
ought to have been settled  in  the  first  instance  in  the  Trial  Court.
Unfortunately, the feelings (if not the animosity) between the parties  have
run so high that any meaningful discussion between  them  to  sort  out  the
pending issues has been  ruled  out.  When  feelings  are  strong  (and  get
further hardened over time) and  tempers  are  high,  there  is  a  loss  of
balance and equilibrium. It is unfortunate  that  this  state  of  mind  has
persisted with both parties  who  are  well  educated  and  perhaps  have  a
philosophical and spiritual bent of mind, being trustees  and  residents  of
the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry and followers of Sri Aurobindo.
3.    On our part, we attempted to amicably sort  out  the  problem  between
the  parties,  but  one  of  them  refused  to  appreciate  the  meaning  of
‘dissociation’ while the other expressed the  view  that  mere  dissociation
was not enough and there must be condemnation! At the end  of  the  day,  we
felt that each party wanted to score a brownie point over the other,  little
realizing that while they would be left with some ephemeral brownie  points,
the brownies (and the cream) would be shared by somebody  else.  In  another
decision altogether, this Court had occasion to remark  that  public  trusts
for charitable and religious purpose are run for the benefit of the  public.
No individual should take benefit from them. If the  persons  in  management
of the trusts are subjected to  multiplicity  of  legal  proceedings,  funds
which are to be used for charitable or religious purposes  would  be  wasted
on litigation.[1] How true.
4.    It is time for all of us, litigants, lawyers and judges to  introspect
and decide whether a litigation being pursued is really worth the while  and
alternatively whether an amicable  dispute  resolution  mechanism  could  be
availed of to settle the dispute to the satisfaction of the litigants.  Most
problems have a positive solution and a concerted effort  must  be  made  by
all concerned to find that solution of  least  resistance  to  the  problem.
This is not only in the interest of the parties involved  but  also  in  the
larger interest of the justice delivery system.
The facts

5.    The respondents are residents of or are otherwise concerned  with  the
Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. They filed a civil suit being O.S.  No.
15/2010[2] before the District Judge, Pondicherry under  the  provisions  of
Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure (hereinafter referred  to  as  the
‘CPC’).[3]  It was prayed therein  that  appellants  2  to  6  who  are  the
trustees in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust (appellant No. 1 and  hereinafter
referred to as ‘the Trust’) be removed and new trustees be  appointed  since
these appellants have  failed  the  philosophy  of  Sri  Aurobindo  and  the
Mother.   A  prayer  was  also  made  for  settling   a   scheme   for   the
administration of the Trust.
Plaint filed by the respondents
6.    The averments made in the plaint principally pertain to a book  titled
“The Lives of Sri Aurobindo” written by one Peter Heehs  and  the  fall  out
thereafter.  The book purports to be a biography of Sri  Aurobindo  and  was
published in May 2008 by Columbia University Press  in  the  United  States.
For convenience, and for no other reason, this book  is  hereafter  referred
to as the book or the objectionable book.
7.    The respondents summarized their grievances  in  paragraph  2  of  the
plaint and the relevant portion thereof reads as follows:-
“The plaintiffs who represent the interest of the  community  of  followers,
devotees and disciples of Sri Aurobindo (for whose  benefit  the  Trust  was
created) are constrained to file the present suit, inter  alia  seeking  the
removal of the present Trustees when the Trustees acted in bad faith and  in
breach  of  their  obligations  as  trustees.   Instead  of  promoting   Sri
Aurobindo’s tenets  and  philosophy,  the  Trustees  have  and  continue  to
harbor, defend and  openly  extend  support  to  one  Mr.  Peter  Heehs  who
authored “The Lives of Sri Aurobindo”, a  sacrilegious  book  which  falsely
portrays Sri Aurobindo as a liar  and  a  mentally  imbalanced  person,  and
ridiculing his spiritual encounters and experiences as  an  outcome  of  Sri
Aurobindo’s tantric sexual indulgence and schizophrenic state of mind.   The
fact that such an offensive and venomous book was  authored  by  none  other
than one of the Ashram’s  own  members,  sent  shock  waves  throughout  the
community of thousands of devotees and disciples’ of Sri Aurobindo.   Masses
of devotees appealed to the Trustees to publicly condemn the content of  the
book and to clarify that the  book  was  not  an  official  publication/work
supported by the Trust, and further to seek the  expulsion  of  Peter  Heehs
from the Ashram.  Instead of publicly dissociating itself from  Peter  Heehs
and his book, the Trustees in absolute breach of trust, have  for  over  two
years harbored Peter Heehs within the Ashram itself and gone to  the  extent
of standing as a financial guarantor for Peter Heehs’ conduct for  his  visa
renewals.  Despite mass public outcries to the Trustees to
expel Peter Heehs.

condemn and dissociate the Trust from the sacrilegious work

stop the circulation of the book so as to protect  the  future  interest  of
the trust

The Trustees, in pursuit of some hidden agenda, chose to protect and  render
support to that very individual who has maliciously disparaged, debased  and
brought disrepute to Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy and the ashram community  at
large.  The Trustees have repeatedly disobeyed and  declined  to  carry  out
the directions of the Settler of the Trust, failed to execute the  trust  in
accordance  with  its  object  of  Trust  and  have  thus  acted  in   gross
dereliction of their duty as trustees.  The repeated conduct and failure  of
the Trustees has proven  that  the  Trustees  are  unfit  and  incapable  of
administrating the trust in conformity with the  ideals  of  Sri  Aurobindo.
Thus it is in the interest of the trust and its beneficiaries to remove  the
existing trustees and consequently appoint new trustees having faith in  Sri
Aurobindo’s philosophy and ideals and who are capable of  administering  the
trust and protecting its interest in accordance with its objects.”

8.    More specifically, it was stated that  the  book  contains  deliberate
and baseless distortions relating to the life of Sri Aurobindo, inter  alia,
to the effect that he had romantic affairs with the Mother involving  veiled
tantric sexual practices; that he was a frequent liar  and  lied  about  his
spiritual experiences; that his spiritual experiences were based  on  sexual
and schizophrenic stimuli and that he was the initiator of the  Hindu-Muslim
divide and was responsible for the partition of the country.
9.    It was stated that Peter Heehs claimed to be one of  the  founders  of
the archives of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram whereas the sole  founder  was  one
Jayanthilal Parekh and that this impersonation was mala fide  and  malicious
to lend credibility to his book.
10.    In  sum  and  substance,  according  to  the  respondents  what   was
outrageous and intolerable, as far as they and other  devotees  and  inmates
of Sri Aurobindo Ashram are concerned, was:
“a)   That the author of the deeply offensive  book  against  Sri  Aurobindo
was none other than one of the ashramites;
b)    That an individual who had been allowed to  reside,  use  and  benefit
from the  facilities  and  resources  of  the  Ashram  to  pursue  spiritual
enlightenment through Sri  Aurobindo’s  philosophy  had  instead  flagrantly
misused the Ashram’s name and its resources to launch a  disparaging  attack
on the soul and foundations of the Ashram, its faith, tenets and beliefs;

c)    That Peter Heehs, the author has intentionally tried  to  mislead  the
public  to  believe  that  the  sacrilegious  work  has  been  published  in
consultation/affiliation with the Ashram by audaciously claiming that he  is
one of the “founders of the Ashram Archives” in  a  clear  attempt  to  give
credibility to the source and foundation of a book.

d)    That the book was made possible by extensively misusing  the  Ashram’s
own research database and resources to  which  Peter  Heehs  had  privileged
access, and which has been gathered and  developed  over  40  years  by  the
Ashram’s inmates, devotees and researchers, and includes rare  materials  of
great historical value.  This database which is  intended  to  document  the
greatness of Sri Aurobindo’s life and work was misused  by  Peter  Heehs  to
misrepresent Sri Aurobindo in bad light.

e)    Work done by large teams of dedicated inmates of the  Ashram  over  40
years was claimed by Peter Heehs to be his  own  personal  research  in  the

f)    Some of the rare materials published by Peter Heehs in his  book  were
without proper permission of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust.”

11.   In view  of  the  above,  the  respondents  and  others  made  several
petitions to the appellants  including  on  20th  September,  2008  and  2nd
October, 2008 but the appellants did not take any remedial action either  in
respect of the objectionable book or in  respect  of  Peter  Heehs.  It  was
stated that one Pranab Bhattacharya, the  Head  of  the  Physical  Education
Department had expelled Peter Heehs from the Physical  Education  Department
of the Ashram on 30th October, 2008.  The  expulsion  notice  was  displayed
prominently on the notice board but in spite of such and other actions,  the
appellants failed to take any appropriate corrective measures.
12.   It was stated in the plaint that through a communication made on  11th
November, 2008 the Trust expressed and admitted  its  displeasure  with  the
contents of the book written by Peter Heehs and  claimed  that  disciplinary
action had been initiated against him.  It was clarified  that  Peter  Heehs
was not the founder of the archives of the  Ashram  but  Jayanthilal  Parekh
was its founder.  However, this  does  not  appear  to  have  satisfied  the
13.   Quite independent  of  the  actions  taken  within  the  Ashram,  some
devotees of  Sri  Aurobindo  took  other  proactive  measures  to  stop  the
circulation of the objectionable book. This eventually  led  the  Government
of Orissa to order forfeiture of the book under Section 95 of  the  Criminal
Procedure Code[4] for being a work punishable  under Section  295-A  of  the
Indian Penal Code.[5]
14.   The forfeiture process was initiated by one of  the  devotees  of  Sri
Aurobindo who filed a writ petition in the Orissa High Court being W.P.  No.
15939 of 2008 to prohibit the printing, publication and distribution of  the
objectionable book.  This led the Orissa High Court to pass an order on  4th
November, 2008 requiring the petitioner therein to make a representation  to
the Government of India which in turn was required to pass an order  on  the
representation. The petitioner did make a representation and the  Government
of India passed an order in December, 2008 directing  the  State  Government
of Delhi and the Union  Government  in  Pondicherry  to  ensure  that  there
should be no publication of the objectionable book without  obtaining  a  no
objection from the Government of India.
15.   The Government of Orissa also independently examined  the  matter  and
on 9th April, 2009 a Gazette Notification was issued in which  grounds  were
given to conclude that the objectionable book contained matters  which  were
deliberately and maliciously intended to insult  the  religious  beliefs  of
the  devotees  of  Sri  Aurobindo  thereby  affecting   public   peace   and
tranquility making the publication of  the  objectionable  book  an  offence
punishable under Sections 295-A and  153-A  of  the  Indian  Penal  Code.[6]
Therefore, every copy of  the  objectionable  book,  its  copies,  reprints,
translations or other documents  containing  extracts  taken  therefrom  was
forfeited to the Government.
16.   The relevant extract of the  Gazette  Notification  dated  9th  April,
2009 reads as follows:
S.R.O.NO.127/2009 – Where as on a careful consideration of materials  placed
on record, it appears to the State Government that the book titled  as  ‘The
Lives of Sri Aurobindo” written by Peter Heehs  and  published  by  Columbia
University Press, New York, U.S.A. contain objectionable  matters  depicting
distorted facts about  the   life  and  character  of  Sri  Aurobindo.   And
whereas the State Government, on the following grounds, is  of  the  opinion
that the said book contains matters which are deliberately  and  maliciously
intended to insult religious beliefs of millions of Indians who idolize  Sri
Aurobindo as a  National  Hero  and  incarnation  of  “Almighty”  and  which
promotes communal disaffection affecting public peace  and  tranquility  the
publication of which is punishable under  sections  295A  and  153A  of  the
Indian Penal Code,1860  (45 of 1860), namely –
(a) the book depicts wrong and distorted facts on the life and character  of
Sri Aurobindo, which is clearly blasphemous
(b)  the book contains absurd, irrelevant and self-made  stories,  which  do
not have any  scriptural  support  and  has  caused  widespread  indignation
amongst the devotees
(c) the writings portrayed in the book have seriously  hurt  the  sentiments
of the apostles of Sri Aurobindo and the  said  book,  with  deliberate  and
malicious intention has insulted the religious beliefs of millions;
(d)  the said book, inter  alia,  narrates  at  page  245  that  “but  those
familiar with the literature of psychiatry and clinical  psychiatry  may  be
struck by the similarity between Aurobindo’s powers and experiences and  the
symptoms of schizophrenia”;
(e)  it is mentioned at page 399 that “Early in  the  afternoon  the  Mother
rejoined him, and they walked together to the small outer  room  where  they
sat together on a sofa, the Mother on Sri  Aurobindo’s   right.   Here  they
remained for the next few hours as  ashramites  and  visitors  –  more  than
three thousand by the end of the 1940s -  passed before  them  one  by  one,
“There  is  no  suggestion  of  a  vulgar  jostle  anywhere  in  the  moving
procession,” a visitor noted.  “The mystic sits  bare-bodied  except  for  a
part of his dhoti thrown around his shoulders, A kindly light plays  in  his
eyes,” Sri Aurobindo looked directly  at  each  person  for  a  moment  “the
moving   visitor is conscious of a particular contact with these  [eyes]  as
he bends down to do his obeisance.  They leave upon him a mysterious  ‘feel’
that baffles description.  The contact, almost physical,  instills  a  faint
sense of a fragrance into his heart and he has a perception of a  glow  akin
to that  spreading  in  every  fibre  of  his  being.”   Most  visitors  had
similarly positive experiences. But some, particularly those from the  West,
were distracted by the theatricality of the setting and the  religiosity  of
the pageantry.”
Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by  Sub-section  (l)  of
section 95 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of  1974),  the  State
Government do hereby declare that every copy of the book titled  “The  Lives
of Sri  Aurobindo”   written  by  Peter  Heehs  and  published  by  Columbia
University Press New York, U.S.A.  its  copies,  reprints,  translations  or
other documents containing extracts taken  therefrom  be  forfeited  to  the

17.   Notwithstanding the above coercive action taken by the  Government  of
Orissa and the Government of India, the appellants did not  take  any  steps
to expel Peter Heehs from the Ashram or to sever all ties of the Trust  with
him; no restatement was made by the Trust  disassociating  itself  from  the
objectionable book and no steps were taken by the  appellants  to  stop  the
publication of the book by  contacting  Columbia  University  Press  in  the
United States, while independent organizations such as Google, Flipkart  and
A1 Books made  the  objectionable  book  permanently  unavailable  on  their
websites and through sales channels in India.
18.   On the contrary, the appellants stood financial guarantee for  renewal
of Peter Heehs’ visa to stay in India. Notwithstanding  this,  the  devotees
of Sri Aurobindo and the residents of the Ashram continued to  persuade  the
appellants and addressed to them further letters dated 28th  May,  2010  and
2nd July, 2010 and several other letters.  The only  replies  received  from
the appellants were on 21st June, 2010 and 22nd  July,  2010  but  no  clear
stand was taken therein to redress the grievances  of  the  respondents.  It
was alleged in the plaint that these acts  of  omission  and  commission  by
appellants Nos. 2 to 6 was a clear indication  that  they  were  mismanaging
the affairs of the Trust and needed to be removed.
19.   Leave to sue was granted by the Trial Judge  to  the  respondents  and
summons was then issued in the civil suit to the  appellants  who  preferred
I.A. No. 494 of 2011 to revoke the  leave  granted.   This  application  was
dismissed by the Trial Judge by an order dated 6th October, 2012.
Order of the Trial Court
20.   The Trial Court was of the view that  where  leave  is  granted  under
Section 92 of the CPC without notice to the defendants in  the  suit,  those
defendants would have a right to apply for revocation  of  leave.   However,
since leave was granted to the respondents in the present case after  giving
full opportunity to the appellants to put forth their case, the question  of
revocation would arise only after evidence is  led  in  the  matter  and  on
final determination of the suit.
21.   The Trial Court rejected the contention of  the  appellants  that  the
documents referred to and relied upon by the respondents were fabricated  on
the ground that this could be adjudicated only after  oral  and  documentary
evidence was led on both sides in a full-fledged trial.  It was  also  noted
that several impleadment applications were  filed  in  the  suit  for  being
heard in the matter.  Therefore if leave is revoked, those applicants  would
lose their right and the real truth would not come out.
22.   Based on the above reasoning the Trial Judge rejected the  application
to revoke the leave granted to the respondents.
23.   Feeling aggrieved, the appellants preferred a civil revision  petition
being C.R.P. (P.D.) No. 4357 of 2012 which  came  to  be  dismissed  by  the
impugned judgment and order  dated  2nd  April,  2013  by  the  Madras  High
Decision of the High Court
24.   The High Court took the view that the main allegation  in  the  plaint
is with regard to the objectionable book written  by  Peter  Heehs  who  was
allowed to reside in the Ashram and allowed access to the  archives  of  the
25.   The High Court took into consideration  the  law  laid  down  by  this
Court in Swami Parmatmanand Saraswati v.  Ramji  Tripathi[8]  to  hold  that
only the allegations in the plaint  should  be  looked  into  in  the  first
instance to determine whether  the  suit  filed  by  the  respondents  falls
within the scope and ambit of Section 92 of the CPC.  However, reliance  was
also placed on Vidyodaya Trust v. Mohan Prasad R & Ors.[9] to hold that  the
Court should go beyond the relief prayed for  and  focus  on  the  basis  on
which the suit was filed and whether it was for vindicating  public  rights.
Taking the law into consideration as well  as  the  averments  made  in  the
plaint, the High Court held as follows:
“According to me, for the purpose of deciding the  issue  involved  in  this
revision, there is no necessity to go into the veracity of the  contents  of
the book.  Admittedly, the plaintiffs have not filed the copy  of  the  book
and it is their allegation that the book has not  been  published  in  India
and it will be available for  access  only  through  the  Internet.   In  my
opinion, in the absence of producing the book before this court, it  is  not
possible to comment on the statements made in the book about Sri  Aurobindo.
 Even assuming that in the said book, derogatory remarks  are  made  against
Sri Aurobindo and his relationship with  the  Mother,  in  my  opinion,  the
revision petitioners cannot be held responsible for the same as  admittedly,
the revision petitioners have not sponsored the book nor published the  book
under the aegis of Aurobindo Ashram.  The only allegation made  against  the
revision petitioners is that they have not taken any steps to remove such  a
person from the Ashram.  According to me, such inaction on the part  of  the
revision petitioners cannot be brought into the caption of breach of  trust.
Nevertheless, having regard to the scope of section 92 of the Code of  Civil
Procedure and as per the law laid down by the Honourable  Supreme  Court  in
Vidyodaya Trust case, the court has to go beyond the  relief  and  focus  on
the basis for which the suit was filed to find out whether  a  suit  can  be
entertained under section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure.”

26.   Thereafter, the High Court held that since the Ashram had  nothing  to
do with the publication of the objectionable book by one of its  inmates  it
could not be held that there is a breach of  trust.  However  (and  this  is
important) the High Court concluded that since the appellants had not  taken
any action to secure the ban of  the  objectionable  book  or  to  take  any
action against Peter Heehs, the respondents had made out  a  case  to  bring
the suit within the ambit of Section 92 of the CPC and therefore  the  Trial
Court was right in rejecting the application to revoke leave.  It  was  also
held that  under  these  circumstances,  the  respondents  had  no  personal
interest in the matter and the suit was not filed by them to  vindicate  any
personal interest.  Consequently, they had the necessary  locus  to  file  a
suit under Section 92 of the CPC.
27.   The High Court also held, reversing the Trial Court  in  this  regard,
that merely because leave had been granted after hearing the appellants,  it
would not be a ground to deny to them the right to file an  application  for
revocation of leave.
28.   On the above basis, the High Court rejected the revision petition  and
it is under these  circumstances  that  the  rejection  is  under  challenge
before us.
Discussion and findings
29.   The sum and substance of the grievance of the  respondents  is  really
two-fold: firstly, the appellants failed to  take  any  positive  action  to
prohibit  the  availability  of  the  objectionable   book   or   dissociate
themselves from the objectionable book; secondly,  instead  of  taking  some
coercive action against Peter Heehs (such as removing him from  the  Ashram)
the appellants assisted him in getting a visa  for  his  continued  stay  in
India by standing guarantee for him.
30.   In our opinion, the second grievance would  arise  only  if  there  is
substance in the first grievance, namely,  that  the  appellants  failed  to
take proactive measures to have the objectionable book proscribed  and  that
they failed to dissociate themselves from the contents  of  the  book.  This
really begs the question whether the objectionable book ought at all  to  be
proscribed or its sale prohibited. As we have  seen  above,  the  matter  is
very much alive before the Orissa High Court and it is  for  that  Court  to
take a final call on the legality or otherwise of the action  taken  by  the
concerned authorities in the State in prohibiting the  availability  of  the
objectionable book. Until that decision is  taken  by  the  High  Court,  it
would be premature to hold that the book is objectionable enough as  not  to
be made available to readers.
31.   In Swami Paramatmanand Saraswati it was held by  this  Court  (relying
upon several earlier decisions) that it is only the allegations made in  the
plaint that ought to be looked into  in  the  first  instance  to  determine
whether the suit filed lies within the ambit of Section 92 of  the  CPC.  It
was also held that if the allegations in the plaint indicate that  the  suit
has been filed  to  remedy  the  infringement  of  a  private  right  or  to
vindicate a private right, then the suit would not fall within the ambit  of
Section 92 of the CPC. Finally, it was also held that  in  deciding  whether
the suit falls within the ambit of Section 92 of the  CPC,  the  Court  must
consider the purpose for which the suit was filed. This view was  reiterated
in Vidyodaya Trust.
32.   Considering the purpose of the suit filed by the  respondents,  it  is
quite clear that it was to highlight the failure of the appellants  to  take
action against the availability of the objectionable book  and  against  the
author. As we have noted above, the issue whether the book is  objectionable
or not, whether it deserves to be proscribed or  not,  whether  it  violates
the provisions of Section 153-A or Section 295-A of the  Indian  Penal  Code
has yet to be determined by the Orissa High Court. Until that  determination
is made, it would  be  premature  to  expect  the  appellants  to  take  any
precipitate action in the matter against the author.
33.   The best that the appellants could have done under  the  circumstances
was  to  make  it  clear  whether  they  have  anything  to  do   with   the
objectionable book or not. The High Court has noted  quite  explicitly  that
the appellants have not sponsored the book nor was it  published  under  the
aegis of  the  Aurobindo  Ashram.  The  appellants  have  also,  it  may  be
recalled, expressed displeasure with the contents of the objectionable  book
through the communication of 11th November, 2008. This being  the  position,
we are of the opinion that the appellants have done  what  could  reasonably
be expected of them  in  relation  to  the  objectionable  book,  pending  a
determination by the Orissa High Court.
34.   The High Court has effectively faulted the appellants for  not  making
the first strike to secure a ban on the objectionable book. This  is  really
a question of the degree of reaction to the objectionable book on  which  we
would not like  to  comment.  The  appellants  could  have  expressed  their
displeasure over the contents of  the  objectionable  book,  or  dissociated
themselves from the objectionable book or  even  taken  proactive  steps  to
have the objectionable book banned or proscribed. That the appellants  chose
only to express their displeasure may be construed as a  mild  reaction  (as
compared to outright condemnation of the objectionable  book),  particularly
since the appellants had  nothing  to  do  with  its  publication.  But  the
question is whether the mild reaction is perverse or could  in  any  way  be
held to be a breach of trust or an absence of  effective  administration  of
the Trust warranting the removal of  the  trustees.  We  do  not  think  so.
Failure to take steps to ban a book that is critical  of  the  philosophical
and spiritual guru  of  a  Trust  would  not  fall  within  the  compass  of
administration of the Trust. It might be an  omission  of  the  exercise  of
proper discretion on  the  part  of  the  trustees,  but  certainly  not  an
omission touching upon the administration of  the  Trust.   We  are  not  in
agreement with the High Court that the failure of  the  appellants  to  take
the initiative in banning the objectionable book gives rise to  a  cause  of
action for the removal of the trustees of the Trust and  settling  a  scheme
for its administration. The trustees of a  trust  are  entitled  to  a  wide
discretion in the  administration  of  a  trust.  A  disagreement  with  the
exercise of the discretion (however passionate the  disagreement  might  be)
does not necessarily lead to a conclusion of maladministration,  unless  the
exercise of discretion is perverse.   In our opinion, the High  Court  ought
to have allowed the application filed by the appellants for  the  revocation
of leave granted to the respondents to initiate  proceedings  under  Section
92 of the CPC, in the facts of this case.
35.   We were invited to express a view on  the  constitutional  freedom  of
speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19 (1) (a) of the  Constitution.
It is not at all necessary for us to do so. The Orissa High Court  might  be
called upon to do so, depending on the views of the contesting parties,  one
of whom we were told, is the author of the objectionable  book.  We  express
no opinion on the issue and leave the matter at that.
36.   This being our conclusion with regard to the first  grievance  of  the
respondents, their second grievance is  rather  premature.  It  would  arise
only if and when appropriate directions are issued by the Orissa High  Court
in the pending litigation.
37.   We find merit in the appeal and accordingly  set  aside  the  impugned
judgment and order of the High Court and allow the application filed by  the
appellants for revocation of leave. The parties are left to bear  their  own
costs and once again consider an amicable settlement of their dispute.
                                                                (Madan    B.Lokur)

                                                                    (S.   A. Bobde)
New Delhi;
January  5, 2016

      [2] Vidyodaya Trust v. Mohan Prasad R, (2008) 4 SCC 115
      [4] Subsequently renumbered as O.S. No.15/2011
      [6]  92. Public charities.—(1) In the case of any  alleged  breach  of
any  express  or  constructive  trust  created  for  public  purposes  of  a
charitable or religious nature, or where  the  direction  of  the  Court  is
deemed necessary for the administration of any  such  trust,  the  Advocate-
General, or two or more persons having an interest in the trust  and  having
obtained the leave of the Court, may institute a suit,  whether  contentious
or not, in the principal Civil Court of  original  jurisdiction  or  in  any
other Court empowered in that behalf by  the  State  Government  within  the
local limits of whose jurisdiction the whole or any  part  of  the  subject-
matter of the trust is situate to obtain a decree—
      (a) removing any trustee;
      (b) appointing a new trustee;
      (c) vesting any property in a trustee;
      (cc) directing a trustee who has been removed or a person who has
ceased to be a trustee, to deliver possession of any trust property in his
possession to the person entitled to the possession of such property;
      (d) directing accounts and inquiries;
      (e) declaring what proportion of the trust property or of the
interest therein shall be allocated to any particular object of the trust;
      (f) authorising the whole or any part of the trust property to be
let, sold, mortgaged or exchanged;
      (g) settling a scheme; or
      (h) granting such further or other relief as the nature of the case
may require.
      (2)   xxx             xxx              xxx

      (3)   xxx             xxx              xxx

      [8]  95. Power to declare certain publications forfeited and to issue
search warrants for the same.— (1) Where—
      (a) any newspaper, or book, or
      (b) any document,
      wherever printed, appears to  the  State  Government  to  contain  any
matter the publication  of  which  is  punishable  under  Section  124-A  or
Section 153-A or Section 153-B or Section 292 or Section 293 or Section 295-
A of the Indian Penal Code (45  of  1860),  the  State  Government  may,  by
notification, stating the grounds of its opinion, declare every copy of  the
issue of the newspaper containing such matter, and every copy of  such  book
or other document to be forfeited to Government, and  thereupon  any  police
officer may seize the same wherever found in India and  any  Magistrate  may
by warrant authorise any police officer not below the rank of  sub-inspector
to enter upon and search for the same in any  premises  where  any  copy  of
such issue or any such book or other document may be or  may  be  reasonably
suspected to be.
      (2) In this section and in Section 96,—
      (a) “newspaper” and “book” have the same meaning as in the Press and
Registration of Books Act, 1867 (25 of 1867);
      (b) “document” includes any painting, drawing or photograph, or other
visible representation.
      (3) No order passed or  action  taken  under  this  section  shall  be
called in question in any  Court  otherwise  than  in  accordance  with  the
provisions of Section 96.

      [10]  295-A. Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage
religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious
beliefs.—Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the
religious feelings of any class of citizens of India, by words, either
spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise,
insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that
class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term
which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
      [12]  153-A. Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of
religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts
prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.—(1) Whoever—
      (a) by words, either spoken or written, or  by  signs  or  by  visible
representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to  promote,  on  grounds
of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste  or  community
or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred  or
ill-will between different religious, racial, language  or  regional  groups
or castes or communities, or
      (b)  commits any act  which  is  prejudicial  to  the  maintenance  of
harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups  or
castes or communities, and which  disturbs  or  is  likely  to  disturb  the
public tranquillity, or
      (c) organizes any exercise, movement, drill or other similar  activity
intending that the participants in such activity shall use or be trained  to
use criminal force  or  violence  or  knowing  it  to  be  likely  that  the
participants in such activity will use or be trained to use  criminal  force
or violence, or participates  in  such  activity  intending  to  use  or  be
trained to use criminal force or violence or knowing it to  be  likely  that
the participants in such activity will use or be  trained  to  use  criminal
force or violence, against  any  religious,  racial,  language  or  regional
group or caste or community and such activity,  for  any  reason  whatsoever
causes or is likely to cause fear  or  alarm  or  a  feeling  of  insecurity
amongst members of such religious, racial, language  or  regional  group  or
caste or community,
      shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years,
or with fine, or with both.
      Offence committed in place of worship, etc.—(2) Whoever commits an
offence specified in sub-section (1) in any place of worship or in any
assembly engaged in the performance of religious worship or religious
ceremonies, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to five
years and shall also be liable to fine.
      [14] Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust & Ors. v. S. Ramanathan & Ors,
      [16] (1974) 2 SCC 695
      [18] (2008) 4 SCC 115