Thursday, April 19, 2007

Karnataka HC blasts indiscriminate land acquisition

Karnataka High Court blasts indiscriminate land acquisition

Staff Reporter

Judge: land taken in and around Bangalore without a thought for the farmer, stay won't be vacated

  • High Court refers issue to Lokayukta
  • Industrialists can buy land at market rate

    BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court has came down heavily on the State Government and the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) for indiscriminately acquiring agricultural land in and around Bangalore and in the Bangalore urban and rural districts and referred the issue to the Lokayukta for investigation.

    Expressing displeasure at the manner of acquisitions in the last five years, the court said the Board officials had thrown all norms to the wind and, in some cases, acquired entire villages.

    In a majority of the cases, thousands of acres were acquired without Cabinet approval. Refusing to vacate its March 26 order directing the Board not to acquire agricultural land and not to allot them to industries, Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh said he would refer the petition to the Chief Justice as the case was more in the nature of a public interest litigation petition. It would be better if the petitions were heard by a Division Bench or a bigger Bench. He, however, permitted land acquisition for the 70-bed hospital and research centre of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences coming up on the outskirts of Bangalore.

    `Court has power'

    Citing Supreme Court rulings on the jurisdiction of courts in "interfering" with policy decisions, Mr. Justice Ramesh said that in this case there was no coherent policy. The courts could exercise the power of judicial review whenever it came across cases of gross violation of law. The Board had acquired land without sparing a thought for the farmer.

    Agricultural land could not be indiscriminately acquired and farmers had a right to livelihood. Unfortunately, both the Government and KIADB had ignored them. Though agriculture was an industry, not much attention had been bestowed on it and the Board was acquiring land for setting up special economic zones.

    The Centre was reported to be formulating a new policy on SEZs, and Karnataka's stand would have to change. The Judge said he saw no reason why the Board had to acquire vast farm land even as the Government was set to recover 18,000 acres of encroached land. These could be auctioned and industry could bid for it at the market rate. Industrialists were rich now and they could afford to buy land. When this is the case, why should the Government subsidise land, he asked.

    A perusal of the files of the Board and the Department of Commerce and Industries showed that "all is not fair" and that there was violation of the Town and Country Planning Act. As several other norms had been violated, Mr. Justice Ramesh said this could be examined by an independent agency such as the Lokayukta.

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

  • Courtesy_

    Wrong judgment no ground for punishment: SC

    Wrong judgment no ground for punishment: Apex Court

    Legal Correspondent

    `Error of judgment shouldn't be attributed to improper motives'

  • "While taking disciplinary action, High Court must take extra care and caution."
  • "Judges of the High Court have a responsibility to ensure judicial discipline"

    NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that a wrong judgment or wrong interpretation of law by a judicial officer in a case cannot be a ground for initiating disciplinary proceedings or awarding punishment to the judicial officer.

    In the instant case, appellant Ramesh Chander Singh, a judicial officer in Uttar Pradesh, was charged with accepting a bribe for granting bail in a case. An inquiry was held and it came to light that the respective courts rejected the bail applications twice on merits.

    It was alleged that he granted bail on the third application in utter disregard ofjudicial norms and on insufficient grounds and it appeared to be based on extraneous consideration.

    The Full Court of the Allahabad High Court imposed a major punishment of withholding two annual increments of the appellant with cumulative effect and subsequently he was reduced to a lower rank.

    The High Court dismissed his writ petition challenging the punishment and the present appeal before the Supreme Court was directed against that judgment.

    A three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Chief Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta and Justice D. K. Jain in their ruling said, "This court on several occasions has disapproved of the practice of initiation of disciplinary proceedings against officers of the subordinate judiciary merely because the judgments/orders passed by them are wrong. The appellate and revisional courts have been established and given powers to set aside such orders.

    The higher courts after hearing the appeal may modify or set aside erroneous judgments of the lower courts. While taking disciplinary action based on judicial orders, "High Court must take extra care and caution."Justice Balakrishnan said, "Our legal system acknowledges fallibility of judges. It has to be kept in mind that a subordinate judicial officer works mostly in a charged atmosphere. He is under a psychological pressure — contestants and lawyers breathing down his neck.Every error, however gross it may be, should not be attributed to improper motives. The judges of the High Court have a responsibility to ensure judicial discipline and respect for the judiciary from all concerned. No greater damage can be done to the administration of justice and to the confidence of the people in the judiciary if the higher courts express lack of faith in the subordinate judiciary." The Bench set aside the impugned judgment and directed that the appellant be immediately posted to the cadre of District Judge and paid all monetary benefits due to him.

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

  • Courtesy_

  • Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    AP HC chides govt, political parties on Bandhs

    AP HC chides govt, political parties on Bandhs
    Wednesday April 11 2007 12:12 IST

    HYDERABAD: A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice G S Singhvi and Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy on Tuesday made stringent remarks against the functioning of the government and attitude of other political parties in the State for their callous attitude towards citizens.

    The court was hearing a writ petition filed by S Janardhan complaining that the bandhs being enforced by political parties and their supporters were causing a lot of inconvenience to the public and that the government was not taking any action.

    The court, while hearing the arguments of the petitioner, remarked that if the beaurocracy was not taking action against those who caused inconvenience to the public at large there was no one to save the people.

    The court further commented that in one State the government itself called for bandh against the judgment in a particular case and in another State the ruling government accepted the bandh call given by the Opposition parties, thereby causing hardship to the people.

    The court also wondered whether the government had any alternative mechanism in case doctors went on strike.

    The court felt that the political apparatus never responded to the situation in time.

    If political parties themselves went on blocking the roads what remedial measures were there for the people, the court wanted to know and asked the government as to why it did not respond when roads were being blocked.

    The freedom of the citizen was being curtailed, it said.


    Lifer for killing mother: Pondicherry Court

    Lifer for killing mother

    PUDUCHERRY: Principal Sessions Judge M. Chinnapandi has sentenced a man belonging to Nehru Nagar in Madukarai to life imprisonment for killing his 60-year-old mother in a fit of rage. The prosecution case was that in September 2005, Adhinarayanan (40) had been pestering his mother for money for consuming alcohol.

    At that time, his sister Lakshmi interfered and told him not to demand money. This led to an argument. In the melee, his mother, Kasiammal, was pushed down by Adhinarayanan, who also hit her with a stick. She died on the spot. Mr. Chinnapandi also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 and in default a rigorous imprisonment of six months. — Staff Reporter

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu


    Kerala HC quashes panchayat order against Pepsico

    Kerala High Court quashes panchayat order against Pepsico

    Staff Reporter

    The panchayat had revoked the company's licence in 2003

  • Panchayat Act not valid in industrial areas: Pepsico
  • Panchayat has no jurisdiction in the matter: court

    KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday quashed the Pudussery grama panchayat's order cancelling the licence of Pepsico India Holdings Private Limited for running its factory at Kanjikode in Palakkad.

    The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice M.N. Krishnan quashed the order while allowing a writ petition filed by the company challenging the cancellation of its licence. It was cancelled in 2003 on the ground that there had been scarcity of drinking water in the areas near the company due to over-exploitation of groundwater. The court had earlier stayed the panchayat's order.

    Firm's contention

    According to the company, the panchayat had no power to revoke the licence as it had been granted by the Kerala Industrial Single Widow Clearance Board. The power to revoke the licence had been vested only with the board, the company said. The Kerala Panchayat Raj Act did not apply to the industrial areas. The court observed that the industrial establishments put up in the new industrial area in Kanjikode were governed by the Kerala Industrial Single Window Clearance Boards and Industrial Townships Development Act, 1999. The Bench pointed out that the industrial areas declared under the Act had been excluded from the purview of the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act.

    The Industrial Townships Development Act said that the industries already established or proposed to be established shall be exempted from obtaining permission from the municipality or grama Panchayat Town Planning Departmentfor development activities including construction of buildings.

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

  • Courtesy_
  • Thursday, April 5, 2007

    Kerala HC bans public meetings at Junction

    High Court bans public meetings at Angamaly Junction

    Thursday April 5 2007 11:25 IST

    KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has directed the Superintendent of Police (Rural), Ernakulam, and the Circle Inspector of Police, Angamaly, not to allow any public meeting at Angamaly Junction, pending disposal of the writ petition filed by six traders doing business there.

    According to the petitioner Linu Varghese and others, almost on all days between 3.30 pm and 8 pm public meetings are organised by political parties at the junction in front of the shops, affecting ingress and egress.

    Consequently, customers avoid petitioners’ shops and go to other shops where they can park their vehicles and shop. The meetings are held at peak hours of business and hence it affects the livelihood of the petitioners.

    Moreover loud speakers are being used causing nuisance in the area and it is difficult to transact business during the time. All these are done irrespective of the fact that the municipal stadium is situated very close to the junction.

    In spite of complaints regarding the nuisance, the authorities are not taking any action to avert the same.


    Deccan Chronicle

    Wednesday, April 4, 2007

    Pondy CJM convicts pirate Video culprits

    Dinamalar ePaper

    Madurai Bench ruling on village land

    Madurai Bench ruling on village land

    Staff Reporter

    MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled that the State Government does not have the authority to reclassify a `grama natham' (village common land) as Government `poromboke' (waste) land or such other category.

    "It is a settled legal position that the Government cannot interfere with `grama natham.' It will have to be held that such a lack of authority for the Government will also encompass even any attempt to make reclassification," the Judges held.

    The ruling was passed while allowing two writ petitions seeking to restrain the Virudhunagar Collector, the Revenue Divisional Officer, Sivakasi Tahsildar and Tiruthangal Municipal Chairman from interfering with possession of the properties owned by the petitioners.

    The Executive Officer of the Nindra Narayanan Perumal Temple at Tiruthangal had claimed ownership over the properties. Filing an affidavit in favour of the temple authorities, the municipality said that the immovable properties were reclassified as `Government poromboke' from `grama natham.'

    However, the Judges said that the municipality could not have any say as regards the classification or reclassification of `grama natham.'

    "If at all any one has got any right in that area, it can only be expected from respondents 1 and 3, namely the revenue authorities... who have not come forward with any counter affidavit in these writ petitions."

    Besides, the municipality had merely stated that the land in question was reclassified without referring to any proceedings and the revenue officials also did not support the stand taken by the local body. Hence, it would be unsafe to rely on the statements of the municipality.

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu


    Madurai Bench confirms conviction of Premkumar

    Madurai Bench confirms conviction of Premkumar

    Staff Reporter

    MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday confirmed the conviction of Superintendent of Police K. Premkumar, who is under suspension, and three other policemen for assaulting and humiliating an ex-serviceman in a civil dispute in 1982.

    Passing orders on a batch of petitions, Justice A. Selvam sentenced the convicts to one-month simple imprisonment and instructed the trial court to take steps to incarcerate them.

    The judge did not agree with the trial court on releasing the convicts under Section 3 (power of courts to release certain offenders after due admonition) of the Probation of Offenders Act.

    The Additional Sessions Court here convicted them on July 11, 2003.

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu


    Disburse benefits within three months: Madurai Bench

    Disburse benefits within three months, says court

    Staff Reporter

    Doubt over date of birth after beneficiary's demise

    MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled that the Government cannot deny terminal benefits due to its employees, by raising doubts over the date of birth, after their demise.

    Allowing a writ petition moved by the wife of a former employee of Government Rajaji Hospital here, Justice K. Suguna pointed out that the officials had not initiated any proceedings against the petitioner's husband during his service period between 1965 and 2001.

    The doubt over his date of birth was raised for the first time only after his death on March 27, 2001, just two months short of retirement.

    Even as per the Tamil Nadu Civil Service (D&A) Rules, a disciplinary proceeding initiated against a Government employee would stand abated after his / her death.

    On the other ground raised by the Additional Government Pleader that the petitioner's husband was on unauthorised absence from 1965 until his death in 2001, the Judge said that there were no documents to prove that a disciplinary proceeding was initiated against him or that he was served with a termination order for his misconduct. Hence, she directed the Director of Medical Education to disburse the monetary benefits within three months.

    Year differed

    According to the hospital authorities, the date of birth of the deceased employee was mentioned as May 18, 1939 in his school certificate whereas the service register showed it as May 18, 1941.

    The attempt to ascertain the truth from the school officials failed, as the old records were not available for scrutiny.

    Hence, the terminal benefits were not disbursed to the petitioner.

    The petitioner's counsel, V.J. Kumaravel, contended that his client was eligible to receive the benefits since her husband had served the hospital for more than 30 years. But the officials refused to disburse the money on "untenable" grounds, he said.

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu


    Judge urges Bar associations to establish e-libraries

    Judge urges Bar associations to establish e-libraries

    Staff Reporter

    "Easier to browse Net than leafing through bulky law books"

    HUB OF INFORMATION: Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla of the Madras High Court (left) browsing through a law book after inaugurating a library of the Madurai Bench High Court Advocates Association. — Photo: G. Moorthy

    MADURAI: Madras High Court judge F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla on Monday urged Bar associations to consider establishing e-libraries.

    After inaugurating a library of the Madurai Bench High Court Advocates Association here on Monday, he said it would be easier to browse the Internet and sources such as compact discs than leafing through bulky law books.

    "The State Government has provided us [Madras High Court judges] with a laptop with a broadband connectivity and access to some online law portals. It is very handy and useful. You [lawyers] can also try something of this sort," he said.

    Call to young lawyers

    In his 45-minute address in Tamil, that held the audience spellbound, judge M. Chockalingam exhorted young lawyers to argue cases on their own without the aid of seniors.

    "This Rs.56-crore edifice [Madurai Bench] has not been established to seek adjournments... It took 40 years to establish the Bench, and its success lies in the hands of the young lawyers."

    Pointing out that judges had their own frame of mind, he asked lawyers not to shy away from appearing before jurists who posed more questions than others.

    On the role of judges, he said: "Being a judge is of no significance. The vital issue is how one delivers justice. I always believe that a person should not merely receive his salary; instead he should earn it. I never allow my ego to take over me, I am dust in the wind and it is the Almighty who guides me in delivering the verdicts."

    Association president M. Ajmal Khan said many senior counsel as well as High Court judges had promised to donate money and books to the library, which has been named after S. Rajagopal, former special public prosecutor and father of senior counsel and Member of Parliament R. Shanmugasundaram.

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu


    No compensation sans specific contract: SC

    No compensation sans specific contract: court

    New Delhi: Unless there is a specific contract, an insurance company will not be obliged to pay compensation to a person/employee who dies in a road accident while driving the vehicle of his employer, the Supreme Court has held.

    Such a liability would also arise only if the claim was made under Section 163A and not under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), a Bench consisting of Justices C.K. Thakker and P.K. Balasubramanyan said upholding an Oriental Insurance Company appeal.

    The company challenged a Uttarakhand High Court order, which directed the insurer to pay compensation to the claimants of an employee who died while driving the car of his employer.

    According to the insurance firm, Chandra Variyal, regional manager of a company, was driving the car of his employer when he died in the accident.

    However, the family claimed that Variyal was just seated in the car when the company's driver Mahmood Hasan was behind the wheel. The family filed a claim under Section 166 of the Act and sought compensation on the ground that Variyal's death occurred because of rash and negligent driving by Hasan.

    However, the Motor Accidents Tribunal held that it was Variyal who drove the vehicle and hence the insurance company was not liable to pay compensation. — PTI

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu


    Monday, April 2, 2007

    Madras HC upholds IOC dealer's termination

    Court upholds IOC dealer's termination

    Special Correspondent

    ``Dealer's act damaged IOC's image and was prejudicial to public interest''

    CHENNAI : Holding that the Indian Oil Corporation could not allow anyone to bring disrepute to its name and goodwill, the Madras High Court has upheld the termination of a dealer, who operated a petrol pump with a damaged totaliser seal.

    Reversing a single-judge order, which had set aside the IOC's order terminating the dealership of Kamala Filling Station on Pantheon Road in Egmore, a Division Bench comprising Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar said if a dealer continued to be incorrigible, the Corporation could not be a silent spectator.

    "It is the duty of the Corporation to correct the situation in order to serve the general public," the Bench remarked.

    The IOC passed the impugned order in June 2002 after an inspection revealed that the totaliser seal was absent in the pumps.

    (Totaliser seal is affixed by the Weights and Measures Department on the totaliser component of the dispensing unit. The seals are installed for the benefit of the dealers to know the sales which take place in a day).

    Holding that it amounted to breach of terms, conditions, covenants and stipulations contained in the dealership agreement, the IOC cancelled the dealership as the act damaged its image besides being prejudicial to public interest.

    However, in August 2003, a single judge set aside the cancellation on the ground that the termination order had been passed in a hurry.

    The IOC preferred the present appeal.

    The Bench, pointing out that the dealer himself had admitted that his employees had damaged the totaliser seal, said that under clause 47 of the agreement, the dealer alone was responsible for any breach or contravention of his servants or agents.

    Rejecting the arguments that the impugned order was bereft of details or reasons, the judges said, "in view of the fact that the dealer had committed three irregularities and appropriate action was taken prior to the irregularity committed in 2002, we are of the view that the IOC is justified in terminating the dealership agreement, particularly when the servants of the dealer tampered with the totaliser seal."

    They further observed, "it not only causes disrepute to the IOC but also affects the public interest."

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu


    Sunday, April 1, 2007

    Denial of sex can lead to divorce: SC

    Dinamalar ePaper and Deccan Chronicle ePaper

    Pondicherry Depositors' Act upheld

    Pondicherry depositors' Act upheld

    Special Correspondent

    Court orders retrenchment compensation for mill workers

    CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has upheld the constitutional validity of the Pondicherry Protection of Interests of Depositors in Financial Establishments Act 2004.

    It also made it clear that financial institutions mentioned in the Act would cover unincorporated as well as incorporated trading/financial establishments.

    Passing orders on a batch of writ petitions and appeals, a Division Bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar also directed the Puducherry Labour Commissioner to complete payment of retrenchment compensation to workmen of New Horizon Sugar Mills Limited at Kandamangalam in Puducherry within four weeks.

    Over 3,000 complaints

    The judges said over 3,000 complaints were received by the Puducherry police and the investigation conducted by the Criminal Investigation Department showed that the deposits collected from the depositors of Pondicherry Nidhi Limited (PNL) had been channelled to New Horizon Sugar Mills.

    With the funds of the Nidhi, property were purchased in the name of New Horizon Sugar Mills in Pondicherry and Arunachala Sugar Mills in Tiruvannamalai, besides other property in Chennai and Kumbakonam.

    The assets of the mill, which defaulted on repayment of a secured credit of Rs. 30 crore to Indian Bank, were sold for Rs. 50.2 crore.

    The issues before the court included the management's demand for the refund of the excess amount, the constitutional validity of the Act, claims of workers' unions and the contention of the EID Parry (India) Limited that employees were disentitled from claiming compensation after the transfer of the company from one employer to another.

    © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

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